Majority of Ugandan Workers in Middle East Ignorant about Contract Details, Says Foreign Affairs Official

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John Laban Musinguzi, the head of the External Labour Monitoring Unit (ELM) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has revealed that most of the Ugandan migrant workers especially domestic workers working in the Middle East, are  ignorant about their contracts.

Musinguzi says this has made them susceptible to job exploitation, torture, and sometimes deportation.

“Most workers who are having issues here are ignorant on the details in their contracts, most do not know what they signed and what’s in side, they desperately signed,” Laban said.

He added, “I spoke to a number of them, but few knew about health insurance, few knew about their rights., you find someone doesn’t have a passport, which is not part of the contract but she’s ignorant that the employer is breaching a contract.”

He made the remarks, at a press briefing shortly after returning from a working visit in the Middle East. 

Musinguzi said that as a special desk at the ministry, they want to ensure that all migrant workers are safe, saying this will start by first of all knowing all of them, through data sharing and streamlining the labour externalization concept.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jeje Odongo, in a past interview with NBS television, said the ministry has imposed stringent measures for those seeking domestic employment abroad, providing a checklist to be followed in the new externalization of the Labor Monitoring Unit at the Foreign Affairs.

Among the requirements he said are; medical examination from a recognized medical facility, a training certificate from a licensed institution, travel documents, and employment status.

ELM is a special unit which was created at the MFA last year to help in co-regulating the Labour externalization sector with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD).

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Currently there are 216 registered labour export companies, who have been solely registered by the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agency (UEARA), licensed and regulated by the MGLS.

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