Some migrant workers from Uganda remain stranded and without work, while facing tremendous difficulties abroad.

The Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs & Ambassador at Large, H.E. Hajji Abbey Walusimbi, has cautioned all Ugandans, especially the youth seeking employment abroad, to avoid labour recruitment companies, which are not licensed & regulated by the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development in Uganda.

The warning was issued by Ambassador Walusimbi during a visit to accommodations in Qatar, where he interfaced with 54 stranded and distressed Ugandan youth (51 boys & 3 girls) in a camp, at Industrial Area, Sanaya, Doha. Walusimbi was flanked by the Deputy Head of Mission, Ambassador Kezaala Muhammad, in a bid to enhance safe and productive labour migration.

In his remarks, Walusimbi expressed concern over the youth, who go abroad for employment through fraudulent labour recruiting agencies. “When we reached this place, the inhabitants appeared like people, who had been resurrected. Majority of them had been there for more than 3 months and were allegedly waiting for resident permits, for which they paid an extra one million three hundred thousand shillings (1,300,000) upon arrival in Doha. We have names of their facilitators in Uganda, some of which are registered as tours and travel companies, and we have met some of the alleged Qatar Agents, who surprisingly are Ugandans. The Embassy is going to ensure that they are dealt with accordingly” said Ambassador Walusimbi.

He added that Qataris are hospitable and good development partners, but most problems stem from the errant Ugandan labour brokers, warning the youth against risking their lives in the hunt for seductive jobs, in foreign countries, while using wrong channels, especially unscrupulous labour exporting companies, which are continuing to take advantage of young boys & girls, who are in a vulnerable economic state.

The Ambassador assured that the Office of the President, Diaspora leadership, together with other stakeholders, are working to mitigate the negative consequences, and prevent further irregularities in the labour externalization sector, such as abuse of rights and dignity of Ugandan migrant workers.

Deputy Head of Mission to Qatar, H.E. Ambassador Kezaala Muhammad, advised victims to remain calm, organized, and disciplined, while awaiting a resolution from the Embassy.

Kezaala reckoned that the Embassy continues to ensure intensified public awareness, and sensitization campaigns on contractual rights for Ugandan migrant workers, advising victims to always reach out to their first home (Embassy) in Qatar, in case of any challenges faced.

He added that the Mission will totally expedite the process to support the stranded boys, by engaging with relevant agencies to assist in securing jobs.

Senior Diplomat at the Uganda Mission in Qatar, Mr. Michael Wandera, mentioned that, in recent years, many Ugandan migrant workers in both professional and nonprofessional fields, have flooded the Gulf region, in a bid to better their lives back home, although challenges facing them are persistent.

He, however, pointed out that the Mission is doing everything in their power, to avail distressed Ugandan migrant workers with required legal service and emotional support.

Notably, Mr. Wandera commended the State of Qatar, for presenting ever-increasing job opportunities, with the population of Ugandans in Qatar growing from 8000 to nearly 30000 in a space of just 2 years.

On the sidelines of labour externalization, Ambassador Walusimbi will continue his working visit to Gulf states for the next 8 days. He says Qatar is a potential destination market for all fruits grown in Uganda like pineapples, mangoes, oranges, coffee, among other products, calling upon Ugandans to connect with the Embassy, to in advantage of exportation opportunities.