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Kenya signs deal for nursing jobs in Saudi Arabia

 The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed its willingness to recruit additional healthcare workers from Kenya. [iStockphoto]

Kenya and Saudi Arabia have signed a bilateral labour agreement, opening up job opportunities for specialized healthcare workers.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection announced job vacancies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for nurses and midwives, inviting Kenyans to apply for these positions.

This agreement marks the second government-to-government Labour Agreement for Kenya, following the one signed with the United Kingdom.

Qualified Kenyans who secure these jobs will be offered a one-year renewable contract, earning a minimum salary of over Sh176,000 per month.

Geoffrey Kaituko, Principal Secretary for Labour and Skills Development, stated that the collaboration between the Government of Kenya and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to enhance safe, regular, and productive labour migration between the two countries.

"This initiative has facilitated employment of thousands of Kenyans in various economic sectors in the KSA which has expressed willingness to recruit additional health care workers from Kenya," said Kaituko.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed its willingness to recruit additional healthcare workers from Kenya, building on the success of previous employment initiatives.

Applicants for these jobs must hold a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Sciences or Midwifery, possess critical care experience, and be registered and licensed members of the Nursing Council of Kenya.

Other requirements include a minimum of two years of nursing/midwifery experience in a hospital or relevant post-registration work experience letter, proficiency in English (both written and spoken), and a police good conduct certificate.

The terms of work for these positions include a 35-day paid vacation, a 48-hour workweek, provided meals and housing, insurance coverage, transportation, and medical costs paid by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health. Additionally, the benefits package includes a one-year paid round trip air ticket, uniforms, and paid overtime in accordance with Saudi Arabia's Labour Laws.

Interested candidates can register as job seekers and submit their applications through the National Employment Authority (NEA) online portal. Detailed information about the recruitment and migration process can be obtained from the Ministry.

The signing of this bilateral labour agreement signifies a departure from the mistreatment and exploitation of Kenyan migrant workers in the Gulf region.

Francis Atwoli, Secretary General of the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), commended the government for this positive step and urged them to expand their engagement in Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements to include domestic workers.

Atwoli emphasized the need for the Ministry of Labour to take full control of Labour Migration and halt the operations of private employment agencies, which he criticized for promoting modern-day slavery.

Atwoli highlighted that engaging directly with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demonstrates the government's commitment to safeguarding the rights and welfare of Kenyan workers seeking employment opportunities abroad.

"The decision to engage directly with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signifies the government's dedication to ensuring the well-being of its citizens who seek employment opportunities abroad," said Atwoli.

He cited other countries such as the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Malaysia that have adopted Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements to replace private employment agencies for all types of employment.

"In supporting this new approach by the Ministry of Labour, COTU (KE) emphasizes the need to widen the scope of Bilateral Labour Migration Agreement to equally cover all types of employment and not just specialized work," said Atwoli.

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