In recent years, the complexity and diversity of the migration narrative has spiraled at a rapid speed and direction due to the multitude of economic, environmental and political struggles that many countries are confronted with. Despite its complexity, if managed well it benefits countries of origin and destination, as well as national and migrant workers and their families. Uganda is a country of origin for people in mixed migration flows, although to a lesser extent than some of its neighbours (RMMS, 2016b). High population growth, youth unemployment, low wages, and the demand for labour in destination countries are some of the important driving forces behind these flows (IOM, 2015, pp. 12–13). Most Ugandans migrate to neighbouring countries, especially Kenya, while a large diaspora is also found in Europe and North America. The size of the Ugandan diaspora is estimated to be up to 3 million (RMMS, 2016b).
Uganda is a founding Partner State of the East African Community (EAC). The Free Movement of Persons among EAC Partner States is provided for by the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC and the Protocol for the Establishment of the EAC Common Market (CMP). Partner State citizens benefit from access to each other’s labour markets, and the right to residence and establishment, on the basis of certain criteria. Through this framework, regular labour mobility and migration takes place between Uganda and the other EAC Partner States. Uganda is also a member of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), which has 21 Member States. COMESA’s Protocol on the Gradual Relaxation and Eventual Elimination of Visa Requirements, 1984, is in force, but is not fully implemented. The COMESA Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Labour, Services, the Right of Establishment and Residence was adopted in 2001 but has only been ratified by Burundi and signed by Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe (COMESA, 2017, p. 4). Moreover, Uganda is a Member State of IGAD, which have also adopted a protocol to allow for the free movement of persons among its members.
Uganda stands out as Africa’s largest refugee-hosting country and receives asylum-seekers and migrant workers from neighbouring countries. Intra-regional labour mobility is facilitated by the East African Community (EAC). Asian nationals, especially Indians and Chinese, also form a large share of the migrant workers in Uganda. Ugandans often migrate to neighbouring countries for work, especially Kenya. Ugandans are also the largest migrant community in South Sudan. Low-skilled labour migration to Middle Eastern countries, often through private employment agencies (PEAs), is also common. High population growth, youth unemployment, low wages, and the demand for labour in destination countries, are some of the important driving forces behind these flows (IOM, 2015, p. 12–13). Ugandan migrant workers, especially women, have been exposed to exploitation and human trafficking in these flows. The Government of Uganda aims to promote the protection of Ugandan migrant workers through bilateral labour agreements (BLAs), which has recently concluded with Saudi Arabia, and through the licensing and monitoring of PEAs.
Various government ministries, departments, and agencies play a role in migration and mobility governance in Uganda. This includes the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development; the Ministry of Internal Affairs; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Office of the Prime Minister; and the Ministry of East African Community Affairs. Social partners engage in tripartite consultation with the Government, namely the National Organisation of Trade Unions, the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions, and the Federation of Ugandan Employers. Government, IOs, and civil society participate in the National Coordination Mechanism for Migration (NCM), which is a government-led platform for national coordination on migration issues. Whilst some barriers to labour mobility have been eliminated, especially among the EAC Member States, the regulatory environment is in many ways still unconducive. High work permit and relocation fees, long administrative processes, futile documentation requirements and lack of skill recognition especially in highly regulated professional bodies are seen as key barriers for labour mobility.
Labour migration and mobility is expected to gain more momentum in the coming years and decades. The political and economic landscape of East Africa, and indeed of the entire continent, is rapidly transforming, and employers’ organizations will need to keep an eye to the horizon and anticipate the challenges and opportunities that initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will bring about. Since, ultimate objective of the continent is to ensure that AfCFTA is truly operational ensuring increased inter-regional and intra-Africa trade that would yield economic development for the betterment of the continent at large.
Traditionally, policy makers focus largely on regulating labour migration to spur remittances and provide employment opportunities for nationals abroad. However, labour externalization does not address the interests and concerns of national employers who regard labour migration as a means to balance labour supply and demand, to spread innovation and to transfer skills. The employers have an important stake in the type and scale of labour migration that takes place, as it expands the labour pool and brings diversity and much-needed skills, especially in those sectors where employers find it hard to retain or access local talent. Furthermore, employers can benefit from professional and ethical recruitment specialists who ensure access to talent and follow established compliance measures in delivering it.
The Federation of Uganda Employers is the Voice of Employers on social and economic issues. FUE is also affiliated to the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Business Africa, Confederation of IGAD Employers (CIE), East African Employers Organization (EAEO) and ILO. The FUE is an umbrella employers’ organization and represents employers’ interests in the tripartite structure in Uganda. The mission of the federation is to enhance Employers’ competitiveness through policy advocacy, fostering best employment relations and provision of business development services. Its services include advising members on; best employment practices, labour law; providing advocacy and research, as well as policy formulation, on relevant topics; representing members on all statutory boards, representation, the Industrial Court; and training on employment relations, and decent work.
In recent years, the Ugandan employers and workers have increased their involvement in labour migration policy. Among the numerous employer and business associations active in Uganda, the FUE is the leading voice on labour and migration related issues both locally and internationally. The FUE has members that are foreign companies to which it disseminates information on labour law and labour mobility. The FUE also advises government on skills development in order to achieve a labour demand driven system of education as opposed to the current labour supply driven system. In a recent study by the ILO, one of the perspectives proposed is increasing membership of private recruitment agencies within FUE the federation could play a much stronger leadership role and utilise its channels to policy makers to affect positive change. To this end, the FUE and the ILO, through the “Better regional migration management” project funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, is seeking to engage a national consultant to undertake an assessment the role of employers in improving labour migration governance in Uganda.
The purpose of the assignment is to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the role of employers in improving labour migration in Uganda. Specifically, this assignment aims to:
- To review existing legal and policy frameworks on labour migration in Uganda and document the mandate given to employers and or lack thereof in labour migration governance.
- Undertake a review of labour migration trends in Uganda through an employer perspective with a focus on key issues of concern/interest to employers.
- Identify labour migration-related priorities from Uganda employer’s perspective.
- Review FUE policy, strategy and other relevant documents of the organization to see if the issue of labour migration has been addressed/mainstreamed and make recommendation as required.
- Carry out an in-depth assessment on the role of private recruitment agencies in Uganda and their affiliation to FUE.
- Carry out a review of existing literature (published, programme documents) of policies, practices, guides on role employers play on labour migration governance. Identify good practices for replication in Uganda if any.
- Assess the existing practices (extent, form) by which employers participate or contribute to improving labour migration governance, including fair recruitment in Uganda.
- Desk review, including mapping of relevant stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities.
- Key informant interviews (KIIs) with relevant stakeholders, to be agreed with ILO and the FUE.
- Deliverables and timeframe
The consultancy work will take 30 days within a period of three months. The assignment is expected to be undertaken between 18th December 2023 – 15th March 2024. Below are major deliverables.
- Inception report
- including his/her understanding of the assignment, detailed methodology notes, research and analysis tools and a realistic and detailed workplan. 29th December 2023
- First draft of the report 15th February 2024
- Policy brief
- Summarizing major finding and recommendations on how best employers can engage on improving labour migration governance based on international best practices. 8th March 2024
- Final full report
- Incorporating feedback from the validation workshop as well as comments from ILO and FUE. 8th March 2024
- 30% upon submission of inception report including his/her understanding of the assignment, detailed methodology notes, research and analysis tools and a realistic and detailed workplan.
- 30% upon submission of first draft of the report
- 40% upon submission of final full report and incorporating feedback and a policy brief summarizing major finding and recommendations.
The international consultant will work under the overall supervision of the ILO BRMM Chief Technical Advisor and FUE.
- Qualification, Experience & Competency
- Master’s degree in social sciences, Economics, Migration Studies, or a related field from an accredited academic institution with at least five (5) years of relevant professional experience; or a university degree in the above fields with seven (7) years of relevant professional experience in labour migration issues
- Excellent qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills and demonstrated ability to produce high-quality research reports.
- Strong understanding of migrant protection, return and sustainable reintegration.
- Experience working and/or researching in international migration and programming.
- Strong familiarity with the human rights-based approach for disadvantaged groups;
- Strong oral and written communication ability.
- Experience with desk reviews, FGDs and with working with CSOs.
- Fluency in written and spoken English.
- Evaluation criteria
Applicant has the necessary advanced degree as stated in the ToRs 10
Applicant has proven expertise in labour migration, and labour laws in the East and Horn of Africa Region. 10
Applicant has experience in conducting research in the Africa region 10
Applicant has proven understanding of the labour migration context and social protection issues in Uganda 10
Maximum Points 40
B. Proposed approach to deliver the ToR’s scope of work
Based on the submitted technical proposal, the applicant demonstrates its ability in conducting similar research and formulating recommendations. It has demonstrated its understanding of the different roles and experiences of different actors on labour migration. The technical proposal also includes a realistic action/work plan. 30
Based on the submitted proposal, applicant demonstrates appropriate approach/methodology to be used to deliver on the objectives of the assignment including any innovation/new idea proposed. 30
Maximum Points 60
Total for Both Section A (30 Points) and Section B (70 Points) 100
Minimum Acceptable Score for the Proposals to be considered for financial evaluation. 70
- Recommended presentation of proposal:
Interested individual National consultant must submit the following documents:
- Technical proposal, specifying the understanding of the assignment, methodology, approach, proposed work, and work plan, and relevant experiences of the consultant, samples of reports of similar work done previously. Personal CV indicating all experience from similar assignments, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the candidate and at least three (3) professional references.
- Financial proposal, the interested consultant is requested to provide a financial offer that includes separately professional fees related to the activity and costs for field mission dates and days, travel cost and daily allowance if needs be.
How to apply
Interested National individual consultant can send questions if any to the ILO’s Procurement Unit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADDIS_PROCUREMENT@ilo.org) until 10 November 2023. Questions will be answered and shared with the interested organizations by Close of Business 14 November 2023.
Completed technical and financial proposals are to be submitted to ADDIS_PROCUREMENT@ilo.org by Close of Business on 24 November 2023.
This is not a job post. Only an individual national consultant who submits a technical and financial proposal will be considered.
Offers from a firm and a group of individual consultants will not be considered.