Premier Recruitment makes first deployment to Saudi Arabia; calls for stakeholder efforts to streamline and grow the labour externalization industry

Barely six months after it entered the private labour recruitment market, Premier Recruitment Ltd, a member of the Ruparelia Group, yesterday sent its first batch of eight Ugandan ladies to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where they will work as domestic workers on a two year contract.

The eight jovial ladies left Entebbe International Airport on January 19th 2019 at 5:40pm, aboard Ethiopian Airlines, and safely touched down in Jeddah at 02:50am on January 20th 2019. In Jeddah, they were received by partners and associates of Premier Recruitment, for onward placement at their respective places of work.

The ladies were seen off by Mr Kanak Shah, the Premier Recruitment Ltd. General Manager, and Ms Marley Ritah, the External Recruitment Operations Manager. Ms Marley advised the ladies to act professionally and work hard so as to pave way for more Ugandan recruits.

“This being our first batch of recruits in less than six months since we entered the market, it is significant in our history and in the life of these ladies. This is the first of many, many more to come. We are very proud of this moment and wish all the eight ladies the best of luck in this new chapter of their lives,” said Ms. Marley.

Mr. Kanak Shah reiterated the company’s commitment to provide “gainful and dignified employment opportunities” to Ugandans here and abroad:

“Premier Recruitment has a commitment to helping decrease the high level of unemployment  in Uganda by providing opportunities for Ugandans here in Uganda and abroad. We are committed to providing a superior level of customer service, compliance, integrity and honesty to both our clients and recruits and those already deployed to the field,” he said.

Kanak added that all company staff has been trained about the relevant labour laws, so as to be able to “deliver a professional recruitment service” but also keep everyone up-to-date and compliant with “any changes and updates within Employment Law, both here and abroad.”

Premier is licensed by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development for Internal Recruitment and is a member of the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA).

$1.24 billion (UGX4.5 trillion) industry

According to Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia, CEO Premier Recruitment, the Uganda labour externalization industry is a vital source of livelihood for both the employees and their families, and a major pillar of the economy that ought to be protected by all the stakeholders and bad apples weeded out.

“Uganda has a competitive advantage over a number of African countries because of our good English that we need to leverage just like our neighbours in Kenya. According to the World Bank and IMF Balance of Payments as well as Bank of Uganda data, personal remittances to Uganda have grown by 174.6% from $451.6 million (UGX1.66 trillion) in 2007 to $1.24billion (UGX4.5 trillion) in 2017, but our neighbours, Kenya raked in $1.962 billion (UGX7.2 trillion) in 2017 and $2.5 billion (UGX9.2 trillion) in 2018,” noted Rajiv, adding: “Diaspora remittances to Uganda are equivalent to 30% of Uganda’s traditional export earnings- $3.4bn (UGX12.5 trillion) in 2017 and $3.6bn (UGX13.2 trillion) in 2018 and almost 3 times bigger than coffee export receipts- $555.4m (UGX2 trillion) in 2017 and $436.4m (UGX1.6 trillion) in 2018. Protecting and harnessing more value from this vital sector should be the responsibility of everyone.”

Rajiv also said, beyond direct economic gains, labour externalization had other benefits such skills transfer, mobilization of capital for investment and improving household incomes and standards of living for their dependents back home.

The Bank of Uganda, Personal Transfers Survey 2017 indicated that the Middle East was the second biggest source of remittances to Uganda (28.6%) after Africa (29%). Europe (20.7%) and North/South America (18.41%) were third and fourth respectively.

According to the Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies, there are 140,000 skilled and semi-skilled Ugandans working in the Middle East as blue-collar professionals as well as technicians, security personnel, porters, drivers, cleaners, housekeepers, catering and hospitality personnel. Domestic workers only account for about 30%. The survey also showed that remittances benefitted up to 820,000 households and that $6 out of every $10 received, went to financing household expenses and education.