Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development Hon Betty Among has castigated some Ugandans for making false claims about being homeless in the Middle East.
The Minister told press on Thursday that while some Ugandans are genuinely stranded and helpless, others are making pranks about being homeless and sleeping in the streets in cities like Dubai.
“Some are genuine cases which the Ministry has taken up but others have turned out to be pranks,” Hon Among said.
The Minister was speaking in response to recent media reports about a growing number of Ugandans spending nights on the cold streets of Dubai.
The revelations were brought out by Hon Muwada Nkunyingi of the National Unity Platform, who travelled to Dubai last month and purportedly spent a night on the street with these stranded Ugandans.
Nkunyingi, who is the shadow minister of Foreign Affairs said he was told that most of these Ugandans were defrauded by Uganda External recruitment companies, falsely promised jobs, and dropped on the streets of Dubai with short visas which expire before getting jobs.
But according to Minister Amongi, most of the people who end up in these circumstances are either victims of trafficking or individuals who travelled on their own and have overstayed their tourist or visit visas.
“For instance, an August 2022 Report from our Mission in Abu Dhabi shows that many Ugandans illegally staying in the UAE have been living on the streets. The Report notes that in early August 2022, the Authorities of the UAE offered free tickets to all illegal migrants. As a result, many illegal migrant workers have reported to Al Awir Immigration Centre for assessment and eventual repatriation to Uganda. The Report indicates that none of the 452 Ugandan who had reported to the Al Awir Immigration Centre had travelled through a recruitment company,” she said.
“Whereas migrant workers who travel through licensed companies also suffer distress, they a better placed to seek redress since the Government and the recruitment agencies are accountable for them. I therefore would like to urge all Ugandans who wish to travel abroad for work to do so through formal channels.”