Domestic workers

Uganda: MPs Call on Government to Protect Overseas Domestic Workers

1. The gender, labor and social development commission has urged the government to quickly put in place systems to monitor Ugandans working in foreign countries as domestic workers.

2. This follows rampant cases of torture and death of Ugandan domestic workers overseas.

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3. MPs said the government should emulate countries like the Philippines, whose labor export industry is thriving and workers are protected from abuse.

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4. “Saudi Arabia has a bilateral agreement with the Philippines and they are doing very well, their migrant workers have holidays every Christmas to go home and they leave in large numbers, they leave with a lot of money,” said MP Margaret Rwabushaija (IND, Workers).

5. The parliamentarians made the call during a meeting with the Uganda Association of External Labor Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

6. For countries like Saudi Arabia, where many cases of human rights abuses have been recorded, MPs said the government should increase staff.

seven. attached to the monitoring of workers in private homes.

8. MPs learned from UAERA that Uganda has sub-contracted 165,000 migrant workers to Saudi Arabia in the last five years alone and that the Ugandan consulate has only five employees.

9. The chairperson of the committee, Hon. Flavia Kabahenda, called on the government to use the annual tax revenue from the sector to increase the staffing of Ugandan embassies.

ten. “The tourism fund [should be] reinvested in the tourism sector, so even labor additions can be paid for with tax revenue collected from the sector. Kabahenda said.

11. However, he pointed out that there were different categories of taxes in the industry whose use was not known to the public.

12. “We need to know the total amount a person is paying when they reach the final employer, so we can trace that money and see if it’s going to develop that industry or if it’s windfall. financial for some people,” Kabahenda said. .

13. UAERA Board Chairman Baker Akantambira said that for every migrant worker requested by the employer in host countries, US$30 is paid to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

14. He added that migrant workers also pay airport taxes at Entebbe airport in addition to employment application fees.

15. The sector, he said, generates annual tax revenue of Shs.4.5 billion for Uganda.

16. He called on parliament to come up with a standard legal framework, saying the sector is currently not regulated in a uniform way.

17. “We have anti-trafficking laws from the Ministry of Interior and regulations from the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development.

18. This creates confusion as we have members who have faced challenges due to an uncoordinated legal network,” he said.

19. He also asked Parliament to consider delineating the association as a regulator of the sector.

20. “We know that there are unregistered companies that are scamming money, if we are legally registered we could reprimand them, we would ensure ethical recruitment,” Akantambira said.

21. Rwabushaija said the association should prove it was doing something to clean up the sector, especially the illegal recruitment agencies.

22. “People come and say we pay our money to the bank and we’ve been waiting for a year, if they ask the company for money they threaten them, so like an umbrella I should be able to talk to these people and report them to the ministry,” said.

23. Representative Irene Linda (NRM, Fort Portal City) wondered if the association had the potential to regulate the sector.

24. “What have you done as an umbrella association?

25. Do you have a responsibility and, in case the government decides to publish it, would you have the capacity? she says.

26. The committee has asked the association to provide a list of countries to which Ugandan domestic work is outsourced as it considers a private member’s bill on labor outsourcing.