The Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development announced it will resume licensing of new labor export companies starting February 1.
This comes after the suspension of licensing new companies in April 2019 to address challenges in the labor externalization program.
In the past three years, the government has introduced a number of initiatives to plug the gaps affecting the sector, including bringing into effect the Employment (Recruitment of Ugandan Migrant Workers) Regulations, 2021 Statutory Instrument No. 47 of 2021 on August 13.
It among others provides for verification of all job orders, accreditation of all foreign recruitment agencies and prohibits non-Ugandans from owning external recruitment agencies.
There is also a provision for imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding one thousand currency points, or both for persons found guilty of illegal recruitment activities.
According to the ministry, 216 private external labor recruitment companies are already registered and over 300,000 Ugandans have been formally externalized to work abroad since 2005.
The Ugandans are working in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Iraq, Bahrain, Jordan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Somalia and Poland.
In 2021 alone, 84,879 Ugandans were externalized and the country collected US $900 million (about Shs3 trillion).
The ministry's permanent secretary A.B.Kibenge in a statement said they are in the process of reviewing the guidelines to operationalize the new regulation that is currently in draft form and have been shared with stakeholders for input.
The ministry is also signing and/or reviewing bilateral labor agreements. The line minister has already visited UAE and this month she will travel to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and negotiations are underway with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Turkey and Jordan.
Uganda is also setting up shelters to handle cases of Ugandans in distressing on top of deploying "up to three labor attaches to reinforce embassies in destinations countries".