Government plans to tighten rules for job agencies

Florence Bore

Labour Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore before the Committee on Diaspora Affairs and Migrant Workers at Continental House in Nairobi on July 6.  

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Recruitment agencies are facing tough new rules as the government moves to address the suffering of Kenyan migrant workers.

The agencies will be compelled to provide periodic updates on workers they have recruited for various entities abroad if a Bill currently under consideration by the Cabinet is eventually passed by Parliament.

Labour Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore told MPs that the Migration Management Bill, 2023 seeks to promote safe, ethical and orderly recruitment and safeguard the rights and welfare of migrant workers. She told the National Assembly’s Diaspora Affairs and Migrant Workers committee that the government wants to make the recruitment agencies more accountable.

“The Office of the Attorney-General has finalised the legal drafting of the Bill, which is now awaiting submission to Cabinet for approval before submission to Parliament for approval and enactment,” said Ms Bore.

She also revealed that a total of 153 recruitment agencies that applied for operation licenses are currently being scrutinised by security agencies.

At the same time, the CS revealed that in the last 12 months, 87 complaints have been lodged against recruitment agencies at the National Employment Authority.

“The authority receives reports from the enforcement agencies concerning the operations of the recruitment agencies. Recruitment agencies with adverse reports or failure to adhere to the set guidelines and regulations have their licences cancelled and for new agencies no licence is issued,” Ms Bore said.

The CS further told MPs that her ministry is in the process of establishing safe houses in the Gulf region in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in Saudi Arabia and in Qatar. She added that the government will also set up a one-stop centre for all labour migration services to improve linkages and flow of information.