Inside government's plan to create 1m overseas jobs per year – Nation

Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore during a past event.
By  Vitalis Kimutai
Nation Media Group

The government wants to create one million jobs a year for Kenyans abroad to boost diaspora remittances and foreign exchange earnings.
Last year, diaspora remittances reached Sh559.57 billion ($4.027 billion), surpassing foreign exchange earnings from horticulture, tea and coffee, which are Kenya’s leading exports.
An estimated four million Kenyans live and work abroad and send money back to the country for investment, personal development and to care for their families.
Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore has revealed that there are job opportunities for Kenyans in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, which the government has begun to exploit as a way to ease the pressure of youth unemployment.
Read: Government plans to tighten rules for job agencies
Ms Bore said the jobs will soon be available through the National Employment Authority (NEA), adding that the government will work with recruitment agencies to ensure that all legal procedures are followed and Kenyans are not exploited.
“There are more than 15 countries where Kenyans can seek employment opportunities, including the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and others,” Ms Bore said in Kericho.
She added that President William Ruto’s administration was not only looking to create jobs locally, but also looking abroad to grow the economy and strengthen the shilling.
“Apart from attracting foreign investment into the country, President Ruto is keen to open up the space for Kenyans to work abroad in a structured manner under clearly negotiated, agreed and signed MoUs to curb exploitation,” Ms Bore said.
Labour migration agreements with foreign countries will be implemented by the government to ensure that Kenyans are protected from exploitation by both agencies and employers in the context of human trafficking.
The number of labour agencies operating in the country has been reduced from about 1,000 to 500, with many deregistered for lack of proper registration and operations.
Read: Youth exodus: How unemployment has made daring abroad a Kenyan dream
“When we vetted the agencies, we found that some of them were not only involved in human trafficking but also in the illegal drug trade. Those involved in malpractices have been deregistered by the government,” Ms Bore said.
Kenyans work abroad mainly as nurses, teachers, security guards, cleaners and lorry drivers, and the new bilateral agreements are expected to open up more opportunities for different professionals.
Ms Bore said that 10,000 workers, including nurses, were needed in Saudi Arabia, which has been the traditional destination for domestic workers from Kenya, although this has been marred by cases of abuse by employers and exploitation by agents. There are currently an estimated 210,000 Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed bilateral labour agreements with President Ruto at State House during a two-day visit to Kenya in May, enabling Kenyans to tap into the country’s job opportunities.
Mr Scholz said he was keen on Germany investing in Kenya’s energy sector.
Recently, Ms Bore told Parliament that 185 Kenyans had died in Gulf countries between January 2020 and October 2022.
“There is a huge demand for skilled labour in some foreign countries and there is a need for youths to upgrade their skills by enrolling in vocational colleges so that they can get jobs abroad,” Ms Bore said.
Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua recently said there were job opportunities for Kenyans in various sectors of the Canadian economy.
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