Uganda News

Uganda and Saudi Arabia will form a technical committee to oversee migrant workers’ well-being.

Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labor, and Social Development, led a group to Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago.

Following complaints about terrible working conditions in Saudi Arabia, the governments of Uganda and Saudi Arabia have agreed to form an effective joint technical committee to oversee the implementation of the 2017 labor export agreement.

Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labor, and Social Development, led a group to Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago.

This tour came after one she made to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December 2021 to discuss labor externalization from Uganda, particularly in the Middle East.

According to the minister, the major goal of the visit was to examine the state of the Bilateral Labour Agreements inked between Uganda and Saudi Arabia in 2017.

Amongi told the reporters in Kampala that they have agreed that the signed agreements and contracts must be strictly enforced in order to protect migrant workers and make it easier for the gin to follow up on situations originating from contractual breaches.

“Before the present agreements expire in December 2022, the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) will be constituted to completely analyze and consolidate them.” This Committee will assist the two governments in monitoring the execution and compliance with the agreements/contracts in order to ensure safe and decent labor externalization,” she explained.

Amongi suggested that a comprehensive joint reporting, complaint, and case management system/procedure be implemented through the committee.

She stated that periodic (quarterly) status reports on each deployed worker will be submitted online and in copy to the embassy by the Saudi recruitment agency and to the ministry by the Ugandan recruitment companies for proper monitoring and follow up of deployed migrant employees.

She stated that the ministry is investigating all reported cases of abuse and non-compliance with contractual requirements, in addition to imposing strong sanctions on corporations and individuals that violate migrant workers’ rights.

“The ministry will look into measures to develop and empower the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) so that it can manage its membership and comply with labor externalization criteria and standards,” she added.

She added that foreign organisations should hire Ugandan translators to react to migrant workers’ distress calls.

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