The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Kampala has halted issuance of visas to Ugandans who want to travel to the country to work as maids.
The halt of the exercise that started on April 19 is said to be temporary and will affect the travel of more than 20,000 maids and income of several local companies dealing in labour export.
According to local media outlets in Saudi Arabia, the visa suspension has been attributed to a technical glitch in the electronic visa system and it. According to Saudi Arabia’s official online platforms, the lifting of the ban on international travels is expected to end on May 17.
Labour externalisation, especially among Ugandan youth who look for jobs in the Middle East, has been the unprecedented causality of Covid-19. The Middle East provides opportunities for several categories of employees, including drivers, domestic workers, factory workers, security, etc.
Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) 2020 report indicates that at least 165,000 Ugandans work in these categories in the Middle East with maids dominating.
Also, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports show that between 2013 and 2017, the demand for migrant workers in the Middle East increased by 5.2 per cent, mainly attributed to the need for workers in the construction and services sector.
UAERA profiles attractive monthly remunerations for domestic workers in Saudi Arabia ranging from $225 to $500 (with the provision of accommodation and meals).