Jobs and Career

High costs hinder migration

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High costs  hinder migration

Even with increased efforts to export Ugandan skills, many employment firms say the costs involved for individuals to move discourage many. Photo by Edgar R. Batte 

By Ephraim Kasozi

Posted  Friday, December 6  2013 at  00:00

In Summary

Reports indicate that remittances by Ugandans living and working abroad dropped from $225 million in 2011 to $187 million in 2012.

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Despite efforts to create and place labourers across the borders, peoples’ inability to foot the bills involved to tap into foreign jobs leaves Uganda’s labour market underdeveloped, employment agencies have lamented.

Labour advocates said last week that although unemployment remains an economic development strategy where the country’s unskilled outweighs the skilled personnel, recruitment firms have failed to fulfill the orders as required.

Ms Lillian Mugerwa, a labour advisor at the local recruitment firm, International Employment Linkages (IEL) said that affordability of recruits to meet travel and foreign agency costs has hindered migrant workers from tapping into foreign employment.

Speaking at the training of new recruits at the IEL offices in Ntinda near Kampala, Ms Mugerwa allayed peoples’ fear that Ugandan migrant workers abroad are trafficked; “This affects the cycle of job seekers especially with the increasing informal agents who dupe the suspecting public.”

“We need to do more of pooling in terms of creating a database for ready to place workers. And we have started to developing a pool of workers and prepare them as well as implementing the job placements,” said Ms Mugerwa disputing negative publicity against foreign job placements for unskilled labour.

According to Ms Mugerwa, people have been overtaken by allegations of exploitation against the unskilled labourers and forget the benefits attached. She explained that a Senior Four leaver who qualify as an unarmed guard earns between Shs1.5 million and Shs2.5 million compared to local employees who earn Shs200, 000 and below.

“For these jobs, workers are given insurance, medical care, housing and other benefits. The only challenge is that migrant workers are far away from home but they get international exposure,” said Ms Mugerwa.

Increasing the numbers
Uganda Bureau of Statistics shows that the country’s unemployment rate increased to 4.20 percent in 2010 from 1.90 percent in 2007. In Uganda, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force. Reports indicate that remittances by Ugandans living and working abroad had dropped from $225 million in 2011 to $187 million in 2012.

Ms Mugerwa said: “We have a clear understanding of the labour laws and the environment within which it comes into place. We exercise due diligence, pre-departure, and provide available saving as well as remitting instruments and alternatives for investment.”

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com