NEA Hosts Sensitization Forum For Private Recruitment Agencies And Migrant Workers

NEA acting DG, Ms. Edith Okoki. Photo/ K24

The National Employment Authority (NEA), in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) through the NEA/ILO Fairway project, organized a two-day sensitization forum for private recruitment agencies and migrant workers.

The authority met with representatives of recruitment agencies on November 10 at Utalii Hotel, Nairobi, before engaging over 29 returning migrant workers the following day in the same venue. 

Reflecting on industry experiences and challenges

According to NEA, the objective of the discussions with the recruitment agencies was to reflect on industry experiences and challenges. The forum was also for identifying possible solutions to the challenges with the aim of strengthening the labour migration industry.

NEA has recently come under heavy criticism with private agencies and youth lobby groups accusing it of deliberately sabotaging the labour migration industry. 

Haron Kertich, the NEA ICT Director who spoke on behalf of acting Director General Ms. Edith Okoki, urged the agencies to use the NEAIMS for recruitment. He said the system would help to address most of the challenges that recruitment agencies and migrant workers face.

He said that NEAIMS will play a key role in following up on recruitment-related complaints and violations. These include long working hours for domestic workers, delayed salary payments, sexual harassment, and denial to send money back home. It would also help to deal with cases of foreigners running unlicensed recruitment agencies in Kenya, lack of proper documentation, migrant workers who breach contracts, and delays of migrant workers coming back home after expiry of contracts among others.

Providing a platform for migrant workers to share experiences

The authority said that the forum with the returning migrant workers was to give them a platform to share their experiences in Arab countries.

Kertich urged the workers to register on the NEA system as job seekers, saying this would enable them to access information regarding labour migration and make emergency reports of distress calls. 

At least 93 Kenyans have died in Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries since 2019, according to government reports. 

Countless others, especially domestic workers, have complained of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by their Arab employers. NEA was accused of failing in its mandate to protect Kenyans working abroad.

One stop shop for labour migration information

The authority announced that it had collaborated with ILO to set up a one stop shop where migrant workers could access all the relevant labour information. 

According to NEA, this would enable it to fully embrace the reintegration of migrant workers.

In its November 8-12 weekly bulletin, NEA said the resource center has gone a long way in facilitating migrant workers who’ve lost their jobs to easily access labour migration information through the Migrant Resource Center (MRC). 

The workers can also access job opportunities and apply for jobs through the NEAIMS job portal.

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