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Labour CS Chelugui wants migration policies harmonised

By George Kebaso
Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
Labour CS Simon Chelugui during the Regional Ministerial Forum in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/BENARD ORWONGO
In summary
    •   The CS said a some governments in the region have concluded Bilateral Labour Agreements with various labour destination countries.
    •   He said  a well-managed labour mobility has the potential to yield significant benefits.

Kenya has called on regional partner States in the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) to harmonise their policies on migration to reap the economic benefits that accrue from the movement of labour.

Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said such an approach would accord the region a stronger bargaining power for protection of migrant workers.

“There is need therefore to harmonise our policies to effectively harness the opportunities associated with labour migration while addressing the associated challenges,” he added.

He said a number of governments in the region have concluded Bilateral Labour Agreements with various labour destination countries, but that has negative social and economic consequences.

“The ultimate goal must be to conclude bilateral agreements with all key destination countries. 

In this regard, it is important for Governments in the region to continuously identify potential labour destination countries and initiate negotiation of bilateral agreements. 

“We, therefore, need to harmonise our migration policies to be able to provide labour in other countries,” Chelugui said yesterday when he opened a two-day Regional Ministerial Forum on harmonising labour migration policies in East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi.

The CS said a well-managed labour mobility has the potential to yield significant benefits to origin and destination countries.

“However, on the other hand, mismanaged or unmanaged labour mobility can have serious negative consequences not only to the states involved, but also to the migrants,” he added.

Igad executive secretary  Workneh Gebeyehu said migrant workers mobility is recognised as a right in the African Union Constitutive Act of 2000.

Free movement

“The right to free movement of people is also recognised as a fundamental part of integration at the continental and regional levels, and on January 29, 2018, the African Union, in its 30th Summit in Ethiopia, endorsed the idea of free movement of people on the continent,” he said in a speech delivered by Charles Obila, Igad’s Migration officer.