By Jolly Gwari

Recruitment companies have been finally cleared to resume working effective Tuesday 8th December 2020 following the completion of necessary preparations. Companies that fulfilled the requirements of SOPs and adhered to arrival and departure guidelines are allowed to resume working. Wasting no time, Hays recruitment agency yesterday 13.12.2020 took 150 workers to work as security guards, accountants, cleaners, waiters, and airline crew attendants to Dubai and Abudhabi.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development gave a no-objection to the clearing of migrant workers on a condition that the process complies with COVID-19 standards operating procedures (SOPs). Notably, a meeting that was convened at externalization of labour stakeholders on 23rd November 2020 agreed that externalization of labour should resume subject to verification that recruitment companies and pre-departure orientation centres have taken all the necessary measures to ensure compliance with COVID-19 SOPs. The meeting was attended by the Ministry of Foreign affairs, Ministry of Health, Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration control, Interpol, Internal Security Organization, External security organization, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Directorate of Criminal investigations, Uganda Civil Aviation, Authority, Aviation Police and the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA).

The recruitment companies with the necessary requirements are allowed to resume processing workers for a placement abroad for the reasons indicated therein. However, these companies will be allowed to resume the placement of workers abroad as and when the reasons to stay of their resumption are resolved. For that reason, all recruitment companies should ensure that the workers pass all the required documents including valid visas, health certificates, and any other necessary clearances. All recruitment companies are argued to remain vigilant and recognize that the World is still affiliated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives is the most critical thing at the moment. Recruitment companies are also argued to remain ethical and ensure the protection of migrant workers whom they deploy for work abroad.

Migrating for work abroad has a very positive impact on Uganda. Ugandans who move abroad for work have an impact on Uganda in many ways including the Socio-Economic benefits, upon finishing their contracts, migrant workers who return home not only bring financial benefits to help their families through education, setting up businesses, buying land/property, etc, but they also bring with the new work and cultural experiences which will help them to further thrive in their lives both personally and professionally.

This year in March, the government suspended the externalization of labour to countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Somalia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan and Iraq to curb the spread of COVID-19. Labour exporting companies had to close given the recurrent operational costs such as rent and salaries which they found impossible to sustain. Many Ugandans employed by these companies have been jobless in the last seven months.

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