Minister Amongi finally signs off the new Bilateral Labour agreement with Kingdon of Saudi Arebia.

The Minister of Minister of Gender, Labour and Social, Hon. Betty Amongi has signed off the new Bilateral Labour Agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this evening conforming on issues between the two countries.

This paves way for the resuming of externalization of labour to the Kingdom since suspension in December 2022.

Press Release from Minister Amongi

I am here to update you on the Bilateral Labour Agreement between the Republic of Uganda and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that was signed on Wednesday 29th March 2023.

1.   As you are aware, the Republic of Uganda and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have historically enjoyed very cordial and warm relations.

2.   As a result, over 150,000 Ugandans earn a livelihood from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Ugandans living in Saudi Arabia send back to Uganda about USD 700 million annually out of about 1 billion remitted from the entire Gulf Cooperation countries.

3.   Since 2015, Ugandans have been travelling to Saudi Arabia to work under either the Bilateral Labour Agreement on Domestic Workers or the Bilateral Labour Agreement on General Workers.

4.   Whereas the Bilateral Labour Agreement on General Workers is still valid, the one on domestic workers expired on 23rd February 2023. Consequently, the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia embarked on negotiations which culminated into the signing of the Revised Bilateral Labour Agreement on Recruitment of Domestic Workers yesterday 29th March 2023.

5.   Having said that, I would like to highlight some of the areas we successfully negotiated:

                          i.          Both parties are obligated to establish a mechanism for deliberating on and resolving emerging issues on welfare & rights of the domestic workers. (Art 2(2)).

                         ii.          Both parties are to regulate and control recruitment costs (Art 3(6)).

                       iii.          Deductions on salary are prohibited (Art 3(7)) and paragraph 10(L) of Standard Employment Contract).

                      iv.          Both parties are to ensure that workers have recourse to competent authorities in cases of contractual disputes (Art 3(8) of BLA).

                       v.          Both parties are to take legal measures against employers and recruitment agencies for any violation of laws, rules and regulations in either country (Art 3(9).

                      vi.          The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to ensure that employers respect terms & conditions of the employment contract (Arts 4(5) & (6).

                    vii.          An employer wishing to transfer the services of an employee to another employer is obligated to inform the Ugandan and Saudi recruitment agencies before the transfer.

                  viii.           An employee wishing to renew his or her contract must inform the Saudi and Ugandan recruitment agencies and also seek the approval of the Embassy of Uganda in Riyadh.

                      ix.          The Saudi Arabian online recruitment system (MUSANED) will be integrated with Uganda’s External Employment Management System EEMIS (Art 3(11)). This will strengthen migration data management, monitoring of migrant workers as well as eliminate manual clearance of migrant workers

                        x.          A Joint Technical Committee for monitoring the implementation of the Bilateral Labour Agreement will be constituted within two months of signing.

6.   Furthermore, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a member of the International Labour Organisation and has established a labour law and administrative regime in accordance with International Labour standards.

7.   We are therefore satisfied with the labour dispute settlement mechanisms established by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

8.   I wish to take this opportunity to advise potential migrant workers to travel abroad for work only through licensed recruitment agencies. This is because the Ministry and the Embassies maintain a record of migrant workers placed abroad through a licensed agency which makes it easy for our Embassies to trace and offer consular services as and when required.


9.   I also call upon licensed recruitment agencies to operate ethically and in accordance with the law

10.                   We have also embarked on a process to expand the external employment prospects by exploring opportunities in Canada, Turkey, UK among others.

Let me conclude by reiterating that at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, we are committed to the attainment of safe, orderly and decent migration for all Ugandans.  

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