Labour Cabinet Secretary Reveals That Kenyan Nurses Have Rejected Saudi ‘Slave’ Job Offers

The government is encountering difficulties in persuading Kenyan nurses to seek employment opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Despite President Ruto’s efforts to promote bilateral labor agreements, particularly with Saudi Arabia, the response from Kenyan nurses has been underwhelming.

In January, the government announced 2500 nursing positions in Saudi Arabia, aiming to address the country’s high unemployment rate. However, to their surprise, only a fraction of the advertised positions received applications within a month.

Recently, Labour Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore addressed the National Assembly’s Diaspora and Migrant Committee, shedding light on the reluctance of Kenyans to pursue these opportunities. Interestingly, despite the roles being primarily aimed at female nurses, a higher number of male applicants have emerged.

Out of 1,765 applications received, only 586 met the required qualifications, indicating a significant gap. Secretary Bore identified the main deterrents as the unattractive salary packages and the mandatory 90-day bonding period imposed by the Private Recruitment Agency managing the recruitment process.

Further scrutiny in February uncovered the discriminatory pay scales offered to Kenyan nurses compared to their counterparts of different nationalities. Even the lowest-paid Kenyan nurse would earn significantly less than Indian construction workers in Saudi Arabia, highlighting the stark disparity.

For instance, while a British nurse is offered generous compensation and additional benefits, Kenyan nurses are left with meager salaries that barely cover living expenses in Riyadh. This glaring contrast in treatment underscores the discriminatory labor practices in Saudi Arabia, providing insights into why Kenyan nurses are hesitant to pursue employment opportunities in the country.

Kenyan Nurse vs British Nurse Job Offer in Saudi Comparison

CriteriaKenyan nursesBritish nurses
Air Ticket – Round TripYesYes
Extra Round Trip Air Ticket per yearNoYes
Free Medical/Dental CareNoYes
Free Furnished AccommodationNoYes
30 Days Paid Annual LeaveNoYes