Jobs in Saudi Arabia: Over 10,000 Kenyans who are seeking to travel to Saudi Arabia for work are stranded in Nairobi. The thousands of Kenyans are stranded in the capital city following their agencies’ failure to secure them cheap flight tickets. Migrants leaving Kenya for Saudi usually pay tickets at between Sh. 30,000 to Sh. 35,000. According to the agencies, the earliest possible flights out of Kenya to Saudi will be in October at a cost of Sh. 40,000 per one-way ticket.
The thousands of Kenyans make up three cohorts that graduated with the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) certified pre-departure course in Nairobi.
According to a report that appeared in the Daily Nation on Thursday, agencies that act as middlemen for these workers have been unable to get their clients discounted flight tickets to Saudi Arabia over the last four weeks. The daily quoted the Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK) chairman Francis Nduhiu as saying that this has resulted in a backlog of about three cohorts of graduates whose visas have been processed and contracts signed but are yet to report to work.
This problem has been compounded by lack of charter flights that have been offering agencies discounted tickets. Reports say that these flights have not been in operation since August. “The discounted tickets are known as group or labour tickets which go for as low as half the normal ticket price to Saudi Arabia, which migrant workers cannot afford. This now creates a crisis as we have no control over,” said Nduhiu.
To make matters worse, Kenyans who have completed serving contracts for their jobs in Saudi Arabia are also unable to return home because they cannot access the same discounted tickets. “With the ticket unavailability, agents are holding the domestic workers in hostels. The work visas are time-bound and we are receiving complaints from agencies and employers in regards to the delay,” said ASMAK Secretary-General Monica Muema.