Barely a week after it was revealed that Malawi had no formal agreement to export labour to South Korea, the government has been thrown off balance by a last minute indefinite suspension of exportation of labour to Kuwait.
This follows a sudden change to conditions for eligibility of Malawians seeking to work in Kuwait.
Labour Minister Eunice Makangala has confirmed that government has received communication with fresh instructions on who would be accepted to work in Kuwait.
The development has forced the Malawi government to send back home a group of 28 youths comprising 20 men and eight women, who were undergoing orientation in Lilongwe the past week.
The group was called through radio announcements that demanded that they come complete with their travel documentations and luggage as they would proceed to Kuwait after the orientation.
âWe came prepared that after the orientation and after we underwent medical tests, we would be proceeding to Kuwait. Surprisingly, on Thursday night the minister herself came to tell us that we would be going back home because Kuwait has issued new instructions,â said one of the young ladies in the group.
In a separate interview on Friday, Makangala confirmed travelling to the Civil Aviation Department at Kamuzu International Airport Thursday night to announce the new twist to the program.
âThe change is due to fresh communication we have received from Kuwait. These are new developments. They want more people in other specified areas. You see, this is what happens when you are a beggar,â she said.
Kuwait, she said, now wants holders of passports that are not less than a year, aspirantsâ full size photographs (and not mug shots) and proof of professional competence in accountancy, hospitality services, front desk jobs and motor vehicle driving.
Ironically, the majority of the enlisted 28 has new passports and is not specialised in any kind of work.
âYou know that Malawians obtain passports for a purpose, such that this demand is, in our view, not realistic. They also want that we provide full-view photographs of the people and not just passport size. The numbers, of course, will be more than 25 this time around,â Makangala said, adding that the government intends to argue its case on the issue of passports.
She further claimed that the Kuwait authorities wanted to take the workers in a chartered plane hence the need that the current group should wait until a reasonable figure was reached.
The government has opted to striking labour export deals with foreign governments in a bid to fight rising unemployment levels in the country and also to enhance skills of the citizenry.
Besides Kuwait, Malawi also plans to export human capital to South Korea. The government is yet to formalise the labour export deal to South Korea. â By Gabriel Kamlomo