Kenya halts recruitment of workers to Middle East over abuse - kenyadetails
 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Patrick Wamoto

Kenya has suspended the recruitment of its citizens to work in the Middle East following rampant cases of abuse.


The Foreign Affairs Ministry said the mostly domestic workers who have sought employment in these countries end up being mistreated after being promised of lucrative jobs.


"The Government has noted with concern, the increasing number of Kenyan citizens who have sought employment in the Middle East as domestic workers (housekeepers/maids) and ended up in distress.


"The complaints received range from mistreatment, lack of payment of salaries, overwork, denial of food and lack of communication with their relatives in Kenya," said the political and diplomatic secretary in the Ministry Patrick Wamoto Friday.


Mr Wamoto said the government had instituted various measures including the vetting afresh of all hiring agents.


"In some cases, the Kenyans are lured by unscrupulous and unregistered agents who promise non–existent and supposedly lucrative jobs to desperate and unsuspecting Kenyans.


"The Government is therefore working on a mechanism, including but not limited to, vetting of all recruitment agents afresh and signing of Labour framework Agreements with various countries, to address some of the concerns raised by the distressed Kenyans in the Middle East," he said in a terse statement.


There has been a large number of cases of torture and death involving Kenyans who have gone to Middle East countries especially Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in pursuit of jobs.


Last month, the government of Saudi Arabia urged Kenyans seeking employment in the Gulf State to only deal with registered recruitment agencies.


Saudi envoy in Nairobi Ghorm Said Malhan said his country was working closely with Kenyan authorities to eliminate problems that have been experienced in the past.


“Now we make sure in the Saudi embassy we do not deal with any agency unless they are registered with Kenyan authorities like the Ministry of Labour,” he said.


He, however, said recent reports of Kenyans being mistreated in Saudi Arabia have been blown out of proportion adding that the two nations have enjoyed historical cordial ties.


According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, there are over 80,000 skilled and semi-skilled Kenyans working in the Middle East. Forty thousand of these are based in Saudi Arabia.


Within the first three months of this year, the Saudi government processed over 8,000 work permits for Kenyans, an escalation compared to the previous average of 17,000 work permits per year.

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