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Kenyan community leaders have praised Qatar’s recent move to blacklist 12 Kenyan recruitment agencies responsible for illegally recruiting Kenyans who were seeking job opportunities in Qatar. The revoking of the licences followed a meeting between Secretary-General of Central Organisation of Trade Unions in Kenya (COTU), Dr Francis Atwoli with Qatar’s labour officials. The move aimed to shield people from abuse and to also make sure these bureaus can no longer operate.
Atwoli said the government of Kenya should embark on government-to-government agreements with Qatar’s government.
Chairman of Kenyan Community in Qatar Omar Farah said, “Agents have been an integral part of the movement of labour to the Middle East, and a number of whom have been registered by the Labour Ministry and are reliable. However, some of them are not registered and charge punitive fees that are unrealistic.”
Some recruitment agencies, he explained, dupe workers into accepting the offer and when they come, the offer is different to what they had been promised.
John Ngurugwe, another leader, said, “This is a very great move by Qatar government as it will help regulate the agencies that have caused more harm than good to the workers. I hope that the Kenyan government follows suit and get rid of the rogue agencies. We have many Kenyan workers suffering as a result of having to use an agency without the realisation that they were being duped.
“Many will sign for one job and get shortchanged when they arrive in Qatar as the negotiations are done by the agents. Most workers get into debts to pay the unregulated agency fee and end up in debt bondage. I am happy that Qatar’s Ministry of Labour is making big strides in reforming workers’ rights and welfare.”
He said that the ban is one of the things that they have really been advocating for and hoped more unscrupulous agencies could get their licenses revoked.
“It’s a step in the right direction. These agencies have been used to exploit workers, their rights and welfare and they do that in different ways. For instance, the workers get promised one thing and offered a different thing when they land into their job,” he added.
Another leader, Zacchaeus Njuguna said, “I thank the two governments for taking this great operation because I believe it will support and protect the health, safety, welfare, security and dignity of workers. It will also commit throughout the entire employment cycle including ethical recruitment, safe work practices and accommodation for safe and healthy living.”
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