By: Ismael Kasooha & Doreen Nasasira


The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja has held a consultative meeting with the Labour Export Companies in Uganda to deliberate on the challenges faced by the Ugandan migrant workers abroad.

The meeting took place at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday and it was attended by a cross-section of stakeholders from the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The Prime Minister called for the empowering of the migrant workers and asked the labour export companies to ensure that they advocate for better working conditions for the labourers.

She said the labour export companies ought to take note of the concerns of the migrant labourers so that the country’s image is not tarnished.

The Minister of State for Labour, Hon. Engola Charles said the ministry has taken several steps to solve the challenges faced by the migrant labourers including, licensing the labour export companies in the country and stipulating the conditions necessary to transport labour so that the workers enjoy gainful employment.

He, however, noted that there is a need to publicise the benefits of labour externalisation.

Senior Government officials attending the meeting with Labour Export Companies

According to the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Jeje Odongo noted that it is difficult for the majority of migrant workers employed in the Middle East Countries to access consular services due to a lack of identification documents and other legal requirements warranting them to operate in the countries.

The Minister asked the labour export companies to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that they are verified and enlisted by the embassies and missions abroad.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Kibenge Aggrey highlighted some of the conditions being set by the ministry to ensure that the Ugandans seeking employment and those working abroad enjoy favourable working conditions. Conditions such as signing the Memoranda of Understanding and holding bilateral talks with the other governments where labour is exported were discussed.

The Chairman of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies(UAERA), Baker Akatambira said the association does not condone the ill-treatment of migrant labourers. He noted that the association has measures in place to ensure that Ugandans are accorded decent and fair treatment abroad.

“As UAERA, we constantly keep in touch with the labourers we recruit through our supervisors in the countries where they are deployed and also offer them training opportunities before they leave for work,” Mr Akatambira said.

He requested the government to support the association with funding to solve the outstanding challenges the workers face.

The social media video clips in circulation indicate that the migrant workers are subjected to acts of torture, human trafficking, organ harvesting and sex slaving among others.

Most of the migrant workers are situated in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. In Uganda, over 200 labour export companies are regulated and licensed to operate. End.