Ugandan government announced on Friday that it will stop sending maids and workers to Saudi Arabia, making void a agreement between the two countries to ship workers to the oil-rich Gulf country over complaints of poor conditions and mistreatment by workers.
The ban will be valid until Saudi working conditions are ‘’deemed fitting’, the Ugandan government said.
The two countries signed an agreement in July for the recruitment and deployment of university graduates to work in Saudi Arabia to reduce high unemployment rates among the young population in Uganda.
The ban came following the widespread circulation of an audio recording on social media among Ugandans in Saudi Araba who said they were being tortured and imprisoned.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni returned to Uganda recently from a visit to Saudi Arabia to improve trade and investment relations between the two countries but he did not make any statesman regarding the situation of migrant workers.
About 500 housemaids moved to Saudi Arabia since the deal was signed by both sides, according to official Ugandan figures.
However, despite complaints, an immigration official at Entebbe International Airport, speaking on condition of anonymity, said each day nearly 100 people leave Uganda to seek an opportunity to work in Saudi Arabia.
Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippines have banned the flow of migrant workers to Saudi Arabia until they could be assured the workers were given basic labour rights.