Migrant Workers Decline Minister’s Proposal for Deployment in Jordan

Migrant Workers Decline Minister’s Proposal for Deployment in Jordan

The proposal by Betty Amongi, the Minister of Labour, Gender, and Social Development, regarding the resumption of migrant worker deployment in Jordan, has been met with rejection from the migrant workers themselves.

The primary reason cited for their refusal is their perceived exclusion as key participants in the decision-making process that led to this proposal. Operating under the collective name “Migrant Workers’ Voice,” Abdullah Kayonde, the president of the group, emphasized that their members cannot consent to returning to Jordan unless their concerns are adequately addressed, particularly with regards to their welfare.

In a press release dated August 29, 2023, Kayonde conveyed their displeasure with the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development’s swift efforts to reestablish business in Jordan without engaging all relevant stakeholders. He criticized the absence of comprehensive measures to ensure the well-being of workers, including recommendations for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and an insurance scheme.

Kayonde expounded on these concerns through a list of seven key points, underscoring issues such as historical negligence in safeguarding the rights of migrant workers, deficiencies in governmental accountability and decision-making transparency, and the lack of support for distressed workers while in Jordan.

According to Kayonde, past instances of mistreatment remain unresolved, and the opacity surrounding migrant workers in Jordan has made it difficult for agencies to trace their well-being.

Approximately 10,000 migrant workers are estimated to be targeted for deployment in Jordan, according to reports.

The workers have put forward several recommendations. First, they implore the minister to prioritize their well-being. Second, they call for diplomatic ties with Jordan to be fortified, and for Uganda’s international frameworks to be harmonized with the conditions faced by workers in destinations like Jordan.

Kayonde, acting on behalf of the migrant workers, is appealing for greater inclusion in the decision-making process. He urges the Uganda country chief of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to intervene and curb the activities of Ugandan staff within the IOM who appear to be facilitating these trips to Dubai and Jordan, organized by the Ministry of Gender. These trips have been criticized for their apparent lack of inclusion of key stakeholders, relevant officials from various departments, representatives from recruitment agencies, and worker advocates.

Kayonde questions the true purpose of these trips, suggesting that their objective should be to address Uganda’s migration challenges concerning migrant workers in a comprehensive and collaborative manner.

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