Migrant workers

The Minister of State for Labour, Employment, and Industrial Relations, Col. Okello Charles Engola Macodwogo has blamed the huge number of illegal migrants on rogue labour recruitment companies and individuals who lure Ugandans for nonexistent jobs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Currently, there is a crisis in the labour externalization business in the UAE where several Ugandans are turning into conmen, sleeping on the streets and doing other inhumane activities. Since September, the UAE government has deported over 700 Ugandans who were detained at Dubai Central Jail and other 20 detention centers.

The Ugandans had accumulated fines and expired visas. It is reported that most of the Ugandans accessed the UAE through Visit Visas with the hope of getting jobs during and after the six months Dubai Expo which ended in March 2022.

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Speaking earlier today, Engola said due to inadequate information about formal channels of getting employment abroad, many youths are lured by human traffickers. Traffickers through false representation, deploy workers into unknown destinations with hostile working conditions.

“There is exploitation of Ugandan migrant workers by illegal Ugandan recruiters who are resident in host countries through false promises for better pay. They persuade workers to abscond or run away from their jobs,” he said.

“The illegal recruiters place these workers into illegal shelters under poor hygienic conditions. In cases where the illegal recruiters succeed to find employment for the migrant workers, it is the former who get paid and not the latter.”

He said there is a lack of an efficient and reliable rapid-response system for protecting migrant workers. Violation of the rights of especially domestic workers who sometimes are denied access to their travel documents, communication gadgets and even medical care.

Currently, there are about 100,000 Ugandans in UAE, 95 percent doing skilled work and 5 percent having challenges.

From migrant workers, the government annually collects US$1.2 billion (Shs4.5 trillion) globally, the Middle East alone sends in $600 million (Shs2.2 trillion) and $200 million (Shs762 billion) from UAE.

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