Ugandans wishing to work in Middle East will travel free

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Ugandans travelling to work to the Middle East will no longer have to incur air travel expenses, passport and transport fees within Uganda, the ministry of gender has said.

Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development says the waiver in fees will only be applicable for Middle East countries that Uganda has signed bilateral agreements with. Currently, Uganda has signed agreements with only Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Uganda is yet to sign agreements of the same nature with Qatar next month, followed by the United Arab Emirates in the near future.
Bigirimana was Thursday addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre during the ongoing Manifesto week where different ministries are giving accountability for the last year in government.

According to the ministry, only 63 companies are licensed in Uganda to export labour to countries around the world. Bigirimana says the companies will not incur any losses but instead make profits with this new offer. “These companies will not make any losses because the costs incurred to export Ugandan labour will be met by recruitment agencies in these countries. They will instead make money because the more people they export, the more money they will be paid by the recruitment agencies,” he said.

According to Middle East Consultants, a company that exports labour from Uganda to Qatar and Bahrain, Ugandans who want to go and work abroad have to part with at least two million shillings to cater for registration, medical checkups, passport processing fees (for those who do not possess one), and air travel.

In addition to this, Ugandans who are interested have to first present a valid passport and academic papers. They then have to apply for advertised positions and undergo interviews. The whole process is estimated to take a maximum of two months.

According to the gender ministry, approximately 15,000 Ugandans are in the Middle East working as guards, maids, cooks, and waitresses among others.

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