Kampala, Uganda – By E K Benj.
Uganda’s Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Hon Frank Tumwebeze has earlier today (Thursday 3rd December 2020) launched project “Bolstering Ethical Recruitment Policies and Practice”
The launch took place at Protea Hotel in Kampala with a live broadcast on Uganda Broadcasting Corporation – UBC and online.
The United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration – IOM Uganda with support from the Global Fund focus to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) is implementing a 21 month project , “Bolstering Ethical Recruitment Policies and Practice to Enhance Safe and Orderly Labour Migration Pathways, Prevent Exploitation and Better Protect Migrant Workers from Uganda” which is aimed at Strengthening commitments and actions of private recruitment agencies to create consensus, cooperation, and an enabling environment for ethical recruitment across the industry and Improving policy, regulatory and enforcement frameworks at national and local levels to enhance migrant protection and promote ethical recruitment.
According to recent data, 53% of the Africans on the move migrate within the continent of Africa. The remaining 47% migrate outside the continent, with the European Union (EU) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States among the most popular destinations.
Furthermore, more women and youth are joining the ranks of migrant workers and in some sectors, such as the care and domestic work sectors, represent the majority of the migrant labour workforce. Likewise, to other sub-Saharan African countries, Ugandan migrant workers are more and more frequently engaging in external labour opportunities mainly in the GCC states.
Recruitment is a vital first step in the facilitation of labor migration. When labor recruiters operate ethically, their services provide significant benefit to migrants and their communities, to employers in need of foreign workers, and to governments in both countries of origin and destination. Recruiters who operate ethically contribute to safe and orderly migration that benefits migrants and their communities, employers, and governments in both countries of origin and destination.
In Uganda, labour migration is economically significant to the country and, as such, the Government of Uganda (GoU) views it as a major contributor to addressing youth unemployment. That is the reason why the GoU has set up the Labour Externalization Program, a strategic initiative intended to facilitate recruitment of Ugandan migrant workers to decent employment opportunities and promote the protection of their rights and welfare in destination countries.
The programme is implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) and is responsible for licensing and regulating private recruitment companies/agencies; and signing bilateral agreements on behalf of Uganda with countries interested in recruiting migrant workers from Uganda.
The proposed ethical recruitment project was designed under the assumption that providing Ugandan migrant workers with greater access to ethical recruitment channels and safe labour migration pathways through enhanced ethical recruitment practices based on the International
Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) Standard, will place them at lower risk of various practices associated with Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and labor exploitation. The project assumes that the adoption of ethical recruitment practices among the private recruitment agencies and associations will become more effective, standardized, and sustainable if widely supported by a government enabling environment.
The following two outcomes will contribute to achieving the objective:
❖ Strengthening commitments and actions of private recruitment agencies to create consensus, cooperation, and an enabling environment for ethical recruitment across the industry.
❖ Improving policy, regulatory and enforcement frameworks at national and local levels to enhance migrant protection and promote ethical recruitment.
The proposed project is expected to directly benefit three hundred twenty (320) beneficiaries from both the private recruitment agencies (PRAs) and Government counterparts. The UN body anticipates that it will also indirectly benefit dozen of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and thousands of migrant workers.