Labour Externalization program is a Government of Uganda strategic initiative intended to facilitate recruitment of Ugandan migrant workers to decent employment opportunities and promote the protection of their rights and welfare in destination countries.
The programme is implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) and is responsible for licensing and regulating private recruitment companies/agencies; and signing bilateral agreements on behalf of Uganda with countries interested in importing labour from Uganda.
The Ministry executes this mandate through its External Employment Unit which licences, regulates, monitors and supervises the activities of the external labour exporting companies.
Through its regulatory framework the Ministry issued guidelines and under these guidelines, all labour exporting companies are required to belong to an Association in this case the Uganda Association of External Recruiting Agencies [UAERA] which is an umbrella Association bringing together all external labour exporting Companies registered in Uganda.
UAERA was registered in 2014 and currently comprises 171 member companies. The major objectives of UAERA [aside from ensuring member compliance with guidelines on recruitment and placement of Ugandan migrant workers abroad] include, organizing and uniting all companies licenced under the labour externalization program, ensuring protection of migrant workers, observation of rights and welfare of Ugandan migrant workers in accordance with International labour standards, self regulate, ensure adherence to the code of conduct, laws, regulations and guidelines set by the MoGLSD.
The externalization of labour industry has without a doubt made contribution to the development of both person and Government and through the thepalcement of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled migrant workers the following benefits have been realized;
- Revenue for Government through remittances in USD from migrant workers
- Improvement in incomes of the households of the migrant workers
- Increased revenue to government through processing of passports
- Acquisition of new and positive work ethics and skills by the individual migrant workers
- Creation of employment opportunites especially for the young people.
However, inspite of these achievements the Ministry’s operations have been greatly hampered by the minimal budgetary allocations and understaffing among others.
To facilitate the achievement of its mandate and better harness the socio economic benefits of the industry, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development [MoGLSD] has entered into a Public, Private Partnership [PPP] Memorandum of Understanding with the Uganda Association of External Recruiting Agencies [UAERA] which is an umbrella Association bringing together all external labour exporting Companies registered in Uganda.
The Partnership will see the Ministry revamp and better equip the External Employment Unit and have it operate as a one stop centre for all externalization of labour activities/services.
This is aimed at ensuring efficiency and effectiveness of the Ministry in playing its role of protecting Ugandans from exploitation and but also ensuring that every Ugandan who is desirous of pursuing employment opportunities abroad for economic gain, does so through well established structures that will ensure his/her safety in the country of destination.
We would like to note the ever increasing outcry within the country over the trafficking of Ugandans to various destinations around the world; of specific naught is the Middle East.
The Government of Uganda through the MoGLSD, sister Ministries, Government Departments & Agencies and other partners are taking all steps to combat the vice and bring to book all perpetuators as well as provide all forms of assistance to victims.
What the public should note however is that not all Ugandans leaving the country for employment elsewhere are being trafficked.
This flawed line of thinking has been galvanized by the misinformation [many a time deliberate] by individuals/detractors who seek to generalize actions of criminal elements of society perpetuating this heinous crime. It has led many to believe, albeit erroneously that every Ugandan leaving the country to work abroad [especially in the Middle East] is being trafficked.
We would like to assure the general public that the industry of externalization of labour is real, legitimate and legally provided for by the laws of Uganda.
Further, that the Ministry in collaboration with UAERA and all its other partners is taking deliberate steps to streamline the industry and ensure safety for all Ugandans seeking employment abroad.