Special Reports

Exploring Migration Governance Gaps: The Case of Ugandan Labor Migration to  the UAE

Exploring Migration Governance Gaps: The Case of Ugandan Labor Migration to the UAE

Over the past few decades, Sub-Saharan African labor migration to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has rarely been examined in existing literature.Despite the massive inflow of migrants to the GCC, many Sub-Saharan African governments have not fully developed consistent institutional and policy frameworks to provide labor protection in the host countries. Drawing from extensive interviews with migrants and policy document analyses, we argue that Ugandan government’s incoherent policies on migration have increased the vulnerability of the migrants in host countries and limited the capacity to optimize migration as a national development strategy.

This paper is divided into six sections. The first section explains the Sub-Saharan African migration to the GCC from the era of slave trade up to current labor migration. The second section contextualizes the patterns of Ugandan migration to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The third section analyses the Ugandan migration policy framework and institutions while the fourth section examines the Ugandan government’s role in implementing migration policies with a focus on labor protection in the UAE. The fifth section explores migration as a co-responsibility of both Uganda and the GCC countries in addressing labor issues. The final section broadly offers some policy recommendations to increase protection measures for Ugandan and other Sub-Saharan African migrants in the host country.

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