The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will start employing Kenyans directly to work in Dubai with the expansion of its Kenyan mission next year.
The Middle East nation plans to upgrade its Nairobi mission to the largest in Africa, offering it additional capacity for services like job recruitment, Kenya’s foreign affairs officials said on Monday.
Employers in the emirates including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Fujairah will channel their job notices to the consulate, locking out a growing number of agents that have been linking Kenyans to jobs in the UAE for a fee.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed said the consulate’s expansion would improve the job recruitment capacity and allow processing of more visas and work permits.
“While it will also offer services to UAE citizens visiting and staying in Kenya, the consulate will mainly seek to open up job opportunities for Kenyans in the UAE by allowing employers to come and directly recruit from here,” she said.
The foreign affairs secretary did not offer details such as the site of the new consulate that is expected to be ready in January. UAE in its website says it has 13 consulates in Africa.
The direct employment will also curb the practice of agents promising white collar jobs in the emirates only for the job seekers to end up as domestic workers who often get mistreated.
Nairobi is also signing deals with Middle East nations including Qatar to offer jobs to Kenyans and help deal with the growing crisis of youth unemployment.
But Dubai has emerged as Kenya’s favourite, with locals targeting the country’s hospitality industry.
About 36, 000 Kenyans were working in the UAE in 2010, notably in the construction and hospitality industries, according to the immigration ministry. The figure is estimated to have currently hit 50, 000.
UAE accounts for about 10 per cent of the country’s total monthly remittance from Kenyans working in the Middle East nation.
Besides seeking jobs, Dubai remained a popular source market for imported consumer goods for thousands of traders.
Kenyan imported goods such as electronics, textiles, household items and industrial products from the free port city valued at Sh117 billion last year, though lower than the Sh199 billion in 2011.
But UAE remains Kenya’s third largest source market for imported goods behind India and China.
The volume of trade between the two countries has tilted in favour of UAE as Kenya’s exports stood of Sh25.1 billion.