New House committee dedicated to deal with migrant workers’ woes


A mother is overwhelmed by emotions as she narrates how her 34-year-old daughter was suffering in Saudi Arabia at the hands of her employer in this picture taken on October 6, 2020. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Parliament has set up a new committee to address the plight of migrant workers, students and holders of dual citizenship living abroad following numerous complaints from domestic workers in the middle east.

The select committee on Diaspora and Migrant Workers is expected to deal with all matters relating to the protection of the rights and welfare of Kenyans in the diaspora.

The 14-member team will handle all issues facing Kenyan nationals with dual citizenship, Kenyan migrant workers and their families abroad and Kenyans undertaking studies abroad.

The establishment of a standalone committee comes amid a jump in the numbers moving abroad in search of greener pastures and abuse cases by employers in the Middle East.

A rising number of Kenyan youth are seeking jobs abroad to escape the high level of unemployment in the country. About 1.2 million Kenyan youth join the labour market every year.

This number has grown following the Covid-19 pandemic, pushing many Kenyans to seek employment opportunities elsewhere, with the Gulf States a favourite destination.

A majority of the migrant workers are in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain.

Numerous petitions for help from Kenyans living and working abroad have on an Adhoc basis been attended to separately by the committees on Defence and Foreign Affairs, Administration and National Security and Labour and Social Welfare.

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