Tension as Uganda suspends labor export to Saudi Arabia

Ugandan migrant workers wait for clearance at Entebbe International Airport in 2018. PHOTO/COURTESY

Ugandan migrant workers wait for clearance at Entebbe International Airport (PHOTO /File)

Ugandan government has suspended the bilateral labor agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, latest developments have indicated.

Labor ministry permanent secretary, David Aggrey Kibenge, in a letter dated December 23, 2022, confirmed that Uganda’s bilateral labor agreement with Saudi Arabia was due to expire on December 27, 2022.

“Following Article 10 of the bilateral labor agreement on domestic workers between Saudi Arabia and Uganda, the agreement is suspended with effect from December 23, 2022, pending re-negotiations. Furthermore, the same Article 10 provides that suspension/termination shall be without prejudice to the individual employment contracts existing at the time of suspension,” reads in part a letter from the gender ministry.

The letter was addressed to all recruitment agencies and pre-departure orientation and training institutions.

“You are also aware of the challenges that have persisted during its implementation,” Kibenge said.

The ministry, therefore, informed the labor agencies that clearance and deployment of migrant workers, approval of job orders, and training of migrant workers under the agreement are suspended with immediate effect.

Kibenge, however, noted that the temporary suspension does not affect migrant workers whose travel had already been cleared by the ministry, before this date, and own signed contracts, travel tickets, and entity visas.

“Any inconvenience caused is highly regretted. We will, however, endeavor to work with all relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure a quick resolution of all the outstanding issues,” the ministry promised

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