Why government suspended Middle East Consultants, five other labour firms

Friday February 28 2020

A group of youth leaving Entebbe International

A group of youth leaving Entebbe International Airport, Uganda after they were flagged off by Middle East Consultants to go and work abroad in July 2017. COURTESY PHOTO  

By JALIRA NAMYALO

Government of Uganda has suspended at least six labour export companies from operation over fraud related claims after they were accused of charging illegal registration and placement fees.

The suspended companies include Middle East Consultants, Elite Placement Consulting, Eagle Supervision, Elite Winners Agency, Spotlight International and High Ground International Limited.
“These companies have been suspended and have been directed to desist from any acts of labour externalisation as from February 2020. Any one dealing with them does so at his / her own risk,” said the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development said in a statement dated February 18.

The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr James Ebitu said that the decision followed complaints received regarding unscrupulous actions of charging of illegal registration and placement fees.
He said he had written to the companies directing them to refund the monies collected illegally by February 17, 2020 but they did not respond.
According to PS, the companies had been warned that failure to refund the said monies would lead to immediate suspension of their licenses.

“Unfortunately, a number of companies did not comply with the said directive and have failed to pay back these monies as of midnight yesterday (February 17). The companies have not complied,” reads the statement.
He explained that Regulation 29 of the Employment (Recruitment of Uganda Migrant workers Abroad) Regulations 2005 limits the chargeable administration fees to Shs50, 000 and that any further placement fees must be approved by the ministry.


Mr Ebitu also cited Regulation 29 (3) which provides that placement fees shall be collected from a Ugandan Migrant Worker only after he or she has signed the employment contract.

“We thank those companies that are compliant and support our noble objective of ensuring that migration for workers is safe, orderly, regular, productive and dignified,” he added.
The suspension comes after complaints were raised against the ministry and its officials for allegedly rejecting to renew operating licenses.
In the case filed before Kampala High Court, Competitive Manpower International Limited is seeking for orders to compel the Ministry of Labour to renew its operating license which expired in July 2017.

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Through its lawyers of M/s Nsubuga K. S Advocates, the labour externalisation company filed the application for judicial review against the Attorney General (AG) challenging the decision of the labour ministry declining to renew its license.
“There is no satisfactory and speedier alternative remedies open to the applicant for immediate remedy, full and effectual redress of the injustice accessioned to the applicant. The applicant has a prima facie case both on the facts and law and is aggrieved by the actions of the respondent (AG),” reads the court documents.
Other complaints
Different Labour companies have since decried the delay on how different government Agencies are disrupting the youth from getting jobs abroad and frustrating the process with no reason.

jnamyalo@ug.nationmedia.com

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