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Revision of the law

In the Employment (Recruitment of Ugandan Migrant Workers) Regulations, 2021; several measures have been introduced which include;

  • Restricting ownership of recruitment companies to only Ugandan nationals.
  • Where a Ugandan recruitment agency is paid fees by a foreign recruitment agency, the Ugandan recruitment agency shall not charge any migrant worker any fee.
  • Where there is evidence that a Ugandan recruitment agency has not been paid fees by a foreign recruitment agency, a Ugandan recruitment agency may charge fees but with the approval of the Ministry. The placement fees charged should only cover the costs for the placement of a migrant worker, including medical examination and inoculation of the migrant worker; processing of the required visa; and air ticket.
  • Charging migrant workers unauthorized fees is a ground for revocation of a license.
  • Recruitment agencies are not allowed to publish job adverts that have not been approved by the Ministry and acting to the contrary is a ground for revocation of a license.
  • All foreign recruitment agencies that present a job order for verification to the Ugandan Mission Abroad pay a fee of thirty US dollars, for every vacancy on the job order.

The Non-Tax Revenue expected from this measure is supposed to support strengthening externalisation of labour activities in Uganda, the establishment of accommodation shelters for Ugandan migrant workers abroad, provision of consular services including the deployment of Labour Attaches.

  • The value of the bank guarantee is used to clear any claims that may arise from migrant workers against a recruitment agency and was increased from fifty million to one hundred million.
  • The penalties for offences under the Regulations have been increased from three months to five years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding one thousand currency points or both.

Pre-departure orientation and training

Pre-departure orientation and training are mandatory and a pre-condition for clearance of a migrant worker. The period of pre-departure orientation was increased from 7 days to 14 days.

The overall goal of the training and orientation is to provide migrant workers with practical knowledge about their jobs and prepare them for cross-cultural adjustment.

The Online System for Management of External Employment

The Ministry developed the External Employment Management System which has digitalized all document processes including license application and issuance as well as clearance of migrant workers.

The digitalization of clearance of migrant workers has allowed real-time transmission of information to Uganda’s Missions abroad. This provision of real-time information has facilitated the provision of consular services.

Community Engagements

The Ministry with support from GIZ has carried out awareness creation activities on safe, orderly, and regular labour migration in the regions of Acholi, West Nile, Bugisu, Mid-Western, Greater Ankole, and Greater Masaka regions.

In June 2022, awareness campaigns were carried out in regions of the Teso and Kigezi with funding from International Labour Organization. Other outreach sensitizations are currently ongoing in the East and North-East of Uganda with support from the International Organisation for Migration.

External Employment Helpdesk at Entebbe International Airport

The Ministry in December 2019 established a 24-hour External Employment Helpdesk at Entebbe International Airport.

The desk verifies clearances of migrant workers issued by the Ministry to curb irregular externalization and forgeries.

After verification, the Ministry submits the lists of names to Immigration for clearance. The Help Desk has intercepted several companies attempting to externalize migrant workers illegally and handed the same to Aviation Police.

Strict Sanctions against Companies

Sanctions have been taken against external labour companies which have breached the Regulations and Guidelines on labour externalization:

  1. Charging prospective migrant workers money and failing to externalize them.
  2. Attempting to externalize migrant workers who have not been cleared.

Bilateral meetings and monitoring visits

The Ministry has signed three Bilateral Labour Agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Arab Emirates.

However, the Bilateral Labour Agreement with Jordan was suspended following unending cases of abuse of domestic workers’ rights without redress. Monitoring visits have also been conducted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE.

In progress

Online monitoring and complaints system

The Ministry is developing an online monitoring and complaints system which will have the following functionalities:

A migrant worker will register his or her profile on the application.

In case of any complaint, a migrant worker will register the complaint on the online application.The complaint can be submitted in form of text, audio or video. The migrant worker’s location will automatically be captured at the point of registering the complaint.

The complaint will be received by the local recruitment agency associated with migrant worker, the Embassy and the Ministry.

The online application will track the status of a complaint until it is resolved. The status of complaints will also be viewed on the online dash boards of Minister, Permanent Secretary and Ambassador.

In case of an emergency, the App has an emergency button that submits a distress signal with video within microseconds of its recording. The recording will be received by the Ministry, Embassy and the recruitment agency. Even if the recording is deleted, it will still be received by the local recruitment agency, Embassy and Ministry

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