Govt concerned with proliferation of unlicensed labour export recruiters

Government has expressed concern with the proliferation of labour export recruiters – in the form of recruitment agencies as well as individuals – for employment in various countries without following the laid down procedures.

Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Labour, Wezi Kayira, say they are dismayed that these recruiters have the effrontery to charge a fee to job seekers and bypass the ministry and other relevant government institutions involved in regulating labour export.

PS Wezie Kayira

Kayira, in a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Thursday morning, said the practice exposes job seekers to human traffickers, labour exploitation and abuse.

The PS warns the illegal labour export recruiters that their actions or omissions amount to a criminal offense under the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2015 in particular and other laws.

“In 2016, the Ministry of Labour issued Labour Export Guidelines to guide recruiters on fair and ethical recruitment. The Guidelines, among others, require recruiters to obtain prior clearance from the ministry before exporting labour.

“This act by the ministry is part of due diligence to check for cases of human trafficking for labour exploitation, which is the ministry’s mandate following the designation of Labour Officers as enforcement officers of the Trafficking in Persons Act,” reads the statement in part.

Kayira adds, “The Labour Export Guidelines and International Labour Convention Number 181 on Private Employment Agencies further prohibits the charging of any fee to a job seeker. The understanding is that the costs incurred by a recruiter in the recruitment process is a matter that should be settled between the recruiter in the country of origin and the prospective employer in the foreign country.”

The Ministry of Labour has since asked the illegal labour export recruiters to stop their recruitment activities with immediate effect or risk prosecution under the Trafficking in Persons Act.

Kayira assures that his ministry is ready to engage the recruiters to provide them with the necessary advice and guidance.

“Labour exports, like any services, if well regulated, has many benefits both to the individuals involved and the country as well. Apart from the salaries the workers get, they tend to remit part of their money to their home country, which also contributes towards the country’s economic growth. Be that as it may, job seekers are still advised to exercise utmost caution by always checking the credibility and standing of their prospective recruiters with the Ministry of Labour.

“We appeal to the general public to continue reporting any suspicious cases of labour recruitment to the Ministry of Labour for the safety and welfare of labour migrants,” concludes Kayira.

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