At least 2000 domestic workers from Somalia will be sent to Saudi Arabia for work this month following an agreement between the two countries, deputy labour minister Osman Libah has said.
Libah said the agreement will also see up to 50,000 domestic workers; both male and female from Somalia get jobs in the Gulf country.
Speaking in Mogadishu Tuesday, the deputy minister said the move follows the need to address acute unemployment in the country which stands at 68% among the youth. He added the ministry had sent requests to a number of Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia was the first to respond.
“We acknowledged the need to secure some gainful employment for our youth noting that more than half of them are jobless. President Mohamud held talks with the King Salman of Saudi Arabia earlier and the two agreed the process of offering jobs to Somali youth be started,” said Libah.
The first batch of the youth will be dispatched this month; the minister noted adding licensed recruitment agencies will be issued with guidelines to process the applications right away.
The workers will be given a two year renewable contract and a one month annual leave. In addition they will be provided with return ticket and any other support necessary, the minister said.
But the recruitment of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia has been marred by controversy with many cases of human rights violations and in some cases deaths among domestic workers from a number of African countries being reported.
In January, Uganda banned housemaids from working in Saudi Arabia following reports of abuses and violations of a domestic worker from Uganda in Saudi Arabia.
The country’s foreign ministry noted the ban would remain in force until conditions in Saudi Arabia were deemed fitting.
Libah warned recruitment agencies operating illegally in Somalia and those using their licenses to engage in human trafficking noting the licenses will be revoked and offenders prosecuted.