Kenya currently has approximately 200,000 documented migrant workers in Saudi Arabia with at least 151,000 working as domestic workers.
A total of 283 deaths have been reported among Kenyan migrant workers in the Gulf States over the last three years, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
This is according to Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore. Bore, in a statement to Parliament said that at least 185 Kenyan migrant workers lost their lives in Saudi Arabia, 45 in the UAE, and 53 in Qatar.
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The causes of death, the CS said, varied from illness to homicide. The CS told lawmakers that families of the victims had, however, been informed of the incidents through proper channels.
Bore had appeared before the National Assembly to respond to a number of questions and concerns regarding her ministry, including workers’ status of residency, the type of employment they are engaged in and their working stations.
The MPs had also sought answers on the number of reported cases of deaths, torture, and inhuman treatment of Kenyans working in the Gulf States particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the last three years.
Further, the MPs also wanted to know the measures the ministry has put in place to secure the welfare of Kenyans working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including the agreements that the government has with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to address the reported cases of mistreatment.
In response, the Labour CS informed the members that the Kenyan government, in partnership with Saudi Arabia, has taken steps to ensure the welfare of Kenyan migrant workers.
She cited the establishment of a Bilateral Labor Agreement in 2017, which is aimed at protecting workers’ terms and conditions and enhancing their overall well-being.
She further told the House that a dedicated Labour Attaché’s office had been set up in Riyadh, alongside other such offices in Qatar and the UAE, focusing on sourcing job opportunities and addressing workers’ concerns.
The House was also informed that the Government is actively implementing a range of measures to safeguard its migrant workers.
“A national policy on labor migration has been developed, emphasizing safe and productive migration. Additionally, a Labor Migration Management Bill is in the works to hold recruitment agencies accountable.
“We are also in the process of developing a comprehensive curriculum to prepare migrants with essential skills and knowledge before they embark on their journeys,” Bore told MPs.
Kenya, according to Bore, currently has approximately 200,000 documented migrant workers in Saudi Arabia with at least 151,000 working as domestic workers.