Regional Governments Resolve to Harmonize Labour Migration Laws

Governments of East Africa and the Horn of Africa have resolved to harmonize labour migration policies to foster safe and orderly labour mobility on the African continent.

This agreement was reached on during the regional ministerial forum held in Nairobi, Kenya from 20th to 21st January 2020.

The forum was attended by ministers responsible for labour migration from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Eretria, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Djibouti.

Addressing the press about the forum on Friday, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Hon Frank Tumwebaze said the forum objectives were to discuss a harmonized regional strategy or negotiation of bilateral labour agreements with European Union and Gulf cooperation countries, to share information on the trends, priorities, needs and interests of member States in order to foster safe orderly labour mobility within Africa.

Others included discussing strategies of promoting and protecting the rights of African migrant workers abroad, strengthen regional cooperation on labour migration policies, to cooperate in strengthening the capacity of labour migration management institutions and to promote regional cooperation in combating human trafficking.

Tumwebaze highlighted the recommendations by the Forum to member States.

“Member countries should revise their laws to facilitate portability of social security benefits to include migrant workers. Member countries should strengthen the national statistical institutions and data collection mechanisms as well as cooperation on exchange and labor migrant governance,” said Tumwebaze.

The forum also recommended that member countries should establish collaboration on diplomatic and consular assistance for migrant workers in particular in countries where some States don’t have diplomatic representation, registration and regulation of private employment agencies as well as formation of regional associations to enhance self-regulations amongst private employment agencies.


Ministries also recommended that member countries should promote access to justice by strengthening consular services including posting labor attaches for effective protection of rights of migrant workers in destination countries.

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