Agence France-Presse

Kenyans barred from seeking jobs in Middle East

A group of domestic workers take part in a protest demanding for better working conditions in Lima on June 15, 2012.


Ernesto Benavides

Kenya has barred its citizens from looking for jobs as domestic workers in the Middle East, after an increasing number reported being mistreated by their employers.

The country’s foreign ministry says Kenyans have been lured to countries in the region by the prospect of non-existent jobs, and to combat this new measures are to be introduced requiring all agencies recruiting housekeepers and maids to be vetted and sign labor agreements guaranteeing Kenyans are treated properly, according to Capital FM News.

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Political and Diplomatic Secretary Patrick Wamoto said complaints received by the ministry include overwork, denial of food, not being paid, and an inability to communicate with their family back in Kenya, Standard Media reported. Until the measures are ready, Kenyan citizens will not be allowed to look for employment as domestic workers in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia – where around 3000 Kenyans are believed to be working – dispatched a team to Kenya earlier this year to discuss the problem. The government in Riyadh insists Saudi legislation offers sufficient protection for foreign workers, and says it has blacklisted several recruitment agencies who deal with the brokers that dupe Kenyans into coming, according to the BBC.

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