Government has announced that it won’t be allowing migration of its citizens seeking employment as domestic workers in any of the Arab countries.
Milton Turyasiima, the Principal Labour Officer in charge of Research and Statistics at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, says that the decision follows a series of complaints of abuse on such workers employed in the Arab countries. Some Ugandans especially women have been traveling to countries such as Qatar, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia among others to work as domestic workers, security guards and casual labourers.
He however did not provide statistics but said the ministry no longer provides official recommendation to any Ugandan seeking employment as domestic workers in Arab countries.
Turyasiima however said that the ministry does recommend any citizen intending to seek employment abroad provided they satisfy the required conditions. Any citizen seeking recommendation to work abroad is required to provide a copy of valid passport, employment contract, work permit, certificate of medical fitness, copy of return air ticket, clearance from Interpol and recommendation from Local Council.
Other conditions one has to satisfy before getting official recommendation to travel for work abroad include consent from parent or spouse and an identification document.
The stance is despite repeated claims that Diaspora remittance constitutes a major foreign exchange earner for the country. It also comes at a time when many Ugandans faced with high unemployment rate are seeking employment opportunities abroad.
Job Elogu, the head of Diaspora Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says that there are about 1.5 million Ugandans working abroad. However, others are believed to have travelled illegally and therefore not noticed by government.
He said there have been instances when Ugandans facing difficulties in the Diaspora have been assisted to return home. He said Uganda has consular services abroad but added that such help could only apply to those who travel and live abroad legally.
Last week, the International Organisation for Immigration (IOM) launched a campaign called Surprising Europe, which seeks to discourage illegal emigration. Gerard Waite, the IOM Chief of Mission in Uganda, said that many times the organization was called to help support the return of Ugandans who become destitute in the Diaspora.