“Any agency that has collected placement fees from a worker before signing an employment contract must refund the money not later than 14 days from today. Failure to do so will lead to immediate suspension of licence,”
KAMPALA - The gender ministry has given external recruitment companies two weeks to refund or export the labour immigrants from whom they collected placement fees before signing employment contracts.
"Any agency that has collected placement fees from a worker before signing an employment contract must refund the money not later than 14 days from today. Failure to do so will lead to immediate suspension of licence," James Ebitu, the acting permanent secretary, said. Ebitu made the remarks during a press briefing on Tuesday at the ministry's head office in Kampala.
He said companies must place a worker within 120 days after clearance by the ministry. Ebitu warned companies against asking for placement fees before the worker signs an employment contract, adding that this is against the Employment Regulation (2005), which provides for placement fees to be collected after a migrant worker has signed a contract.
Labour export companies have had their reputations stained following complaints by clients whose money was taken but got no jobs in return. Just recently, an external recruitment company had its licence suspended after claims that it took money from several people, but failed to deploy them.
The gender ministry said it had received at least 200 verified claims from individuals who had paid placement fees but had not been deployed for over three months.
Ebitu also cautioned the companies against charging immigrant workers exorbitantly, stating that the Employment Regulations (2005) limits the chargeable administration fees to sh50,000.
He said the ministry had also written to all recruitment agencies to inform them that it is mandatory to provide a breakdown of the total placement fees that they will charge a worker.
The writing must include medical examinations, inoculation, visa and air ticket fares.
Ebitu also said it is not compulsory for the migrant workers to pay air ticket fees to the recruitment agency, saying there are various travel agencies and airlines with different rates from which one can choose an affordable option.