The Ministry of Labour has issued a stern warning to private recruitment agencies that operate in the underworld while flouting the regulations for labour immigration.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said that they have witnessed challenges with a few agencies that are operating unethically, as only 40 percent of private recruitment agencies operating in the country are registered with the National Employment Authority (NEA).
Chelugui warned that the law will catch up with the unscrupulous agencies that are flouting the laid down procedures, adding appropriate remedial action will be implemented.
“Let this serve as a warning to any agency out there that is going against the set arrangement by the government; there will be no mercy or sympathy to any agency who will try to operate the underworld,” said Chelugui.
The CS was speaking in Mombasa during the launch of an oversight mechanism and community feedback mechanism that will address issues of unethical recruitment to prevent human trafficking.
He noted that they are open to register private recruitment agencies through NEA that meet the registration requirements of labour migration.
“For those that do not meet the requirements, they will be given time to comply. However, those who want to operate in the underworld, your days are numbered because the government will soon catch up with you,” he added.
The CS said the target is to reduce the numbers of those unregistered to the lowest level possible and in the shortest time possible but also continue to vet the private agencies until sanity is achieved in the country and ensure that Kenyans benefit from labour migration by organising labour migration appropriately.
He however lauded some private recruitment agencies in the country saying they play an important role in the management of labour migration; which therefore makes their operations of critical interests to the government and other stakeholders.
Chelugui said the agencies play a much bigger role in terms of reaching out; facilitating and ensuring migrant workers are taken care of thus the need for the government to put in place legal, institutional and policy framework to enhance safe orderly and regular migration which is mutually rewarding labour migration that is profitable to migrant and recruitment agencies.
At the same time he applauded the contribution by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for strengthening the availability of quality labour migration data to inform evidence-based and gender sensitive dialogues around labour migration governance in supporting the establishment of the Kenya Migrant Welfare Fund.
“This is something that is work in progress and at an advanced stage and am pleased with the progress made, am hoping that the regulations will be out soon for public participation discussion,” said Chelugui.
Deputy Chief of Mission at IOM Emrah Guler said that through the launch of toll free line and website to enable Kenyans to ask questions, talk to the National Employment Authority in relation to agencies, status to licenses, jobs being offered abroad, there will be safe and orderly labour migration.
“The Oversight Mechanism and Community Feedback Mechanism will provide a platform for promoting identification, monitoring and reporting of unethical recruitment practices and illegal activities by private recruitment agencies,” said Guler.
Guler added that IOM Kenya commits to support the government in labour migration to end modern day slavery.