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Government to track Kenyans residing and working abroad

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By Judith Gicobi

The Labour Ministry is establishing a digital system to monitor Kenyan migrant workers, in response to an increase in the number of Kenyans traveling overseas in quest of greener pastures and exploitation incidents by Middle Eastern employers.

The database will aid the state in determining the precise number of Kenyans working overseas, as well as their occupations It will also indicate when they switch employment or work locations.

According to Simon Chelugui, Labor CS, the ministry will enhance its labor migration management system, which will enable for automated services like job seeker registration, local and overseas job applications, and the registration and authorization of private recruitment companies under the National Employment Authority.

It will further enable the government to enroll and track immigrant workers in Kenya, weeding out those who are operating without licenses or authorization.

“The challenge we are currently facing is lack of a comprehensive labor migration management system, that can track all the activities of our migrant workers,” said Mr Chelugui.

“We would be interested to partner with ICT professionals in the development of this integrated system.”

A growing number of Kenyan youth are looking for work overseas to evade the country’s high unemployment rate. Annually, almost 1.2 million Kenyan youth enter the labor market.

After the Covid-19 outbreak, this figure has risen, prompting many young people to look for work overseas, with the Gulf States being a popular choice.

The Kenyan government is already utilizing Musaned, a Saudi government-developed online system for registering and managing domestic workers.

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The system is designed to provide employees with quality work, enough pay, and social welfare. It will also indicate labor demand in the nations that have been identified.

While the Gulf nations offer job prospects, companies’ treatment of workers remains a cause of worry.

The Labor Migration Management Bill 2021, which would safeguard employees abroad and manage the private recruiting sector, has yet to be passed by the government, and hurdles to enforcing existing regulations remain.

The Kenya Labor Market Information System is also being upgraded by the ministry to allow for data gathering from other platforms and the generation of up-to-date labor market statistics.

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