Relief For Job Seekers As Parliament Strikes Out Requirement For Clearance Certificates

Job seekers queuing on Wabera Street, Nairobi, for an interview with The Sarova Stanley. Photo/ Daily Nation

Job seekers will no longer be required to present clearance certificates when applying for jobs.

This is after Parliament unanimously adopted the Employment Amendment Bill, tabled by Youth Representative Gideon Keter.

“Job seekers should not pay Ksh.750,000 million each year for clearance certificates,” the MP said.

Job seekers running background checks on themselves

Gideon Keter said that requiring job seekers to present clearance certificates to secure an interview was tantamount to employers perceiving them as criminals. He termed the requirement as asking job seekers to run background checks on themselves.

Job seekers are usually required to present Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), and police clearance certificates when applying for jobs.

According to Keter, jobless Kenyans end up paying Ksh.750 million every year in the hope of securing employment. 

Yet there’s no evidence that these funds are redirected towards youth empowerment.   

“Public institutions should never be cash cows… there is no evidence that these monies have been sent to HELB to boost its kitty, for instance,” part of the statement read.

Only ask for clearance certificates after offering employment

“The solution to all these bottlenecks is that an employer will no longer ask job seekers for such documents as KRA, DCI, HELB, CRB, and EACC clearance certificates until or unless an offer of employment is guaranteed.”

Keter said that Kenya should learn from other countries that have relieved their graduates from financial burdens.

He said that in the United Kingdom, unemployed graduates are only subjected to employment checks after receiving a job offer.

Some states in the US such as Kentucky, Iowa, and Kansas also prohibit employers from asking job seekers to pay for their own background checks. In Iowa, for example, employers pay for background checks that are run through the Division of Criminal Safety Investigations.

“First give the graduates jobs then ask for clearance documents. Young people should not be punished for looking for a job.”

Kenyans’ reactions to the bill

Kenyans on Twitter reacted to the bill with joy and optimism. They thanked the MP for the bill saying it was long overdue.

The bill now awaits the president’s assent to become law.

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