Non-English Speaking Chinese SGR Workers to Be Denied Work Visas

  • Chinese employees working on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will be denied work visas if they are not fluent in Swahili or English, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) chairperson Kagwira Mbogori outlined.

    The KNCHR boss further stated that the body would push for the revocation of their work permits should they fail to communicate in the national languages.

    "Our view is that no migrant worker should be allowed to work in Kenya if they can’t express themselves fluently either in English or Kiswahili," Ms Mbogori stated.

    The human rights body alleged that the failure to speak local languages was a major reason behind the alleged mistreatment of workers.

    [caption caption="KNCHR Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori addresses the press during a past statement "][/caption]

    Labour Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yatani, who appeared before the Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee, conveyed that the current employees had already been enrolled for the language classes.

    The Labour CS told the Johnson Sakaja-led committee that the workers on the Mombasa - Nairobi line were learning English on three nights of the week.

    "In addition, they have translators at their workstations," Yatani conveyed. 

    The CS told Senators that a multi-agency committee had found that the main issue between China Bridge and Road Corporation (CRBC) and employees was due to the fact that the employers are young and with high expectations.

    "The committee of inquiry which had seven days to report accomplished the task and filed a report presenting preliminary findings on issues in view of the fact that there was a constraint in time, long distance between stations and the many issues that were being handled," he stated.

    He further added that the probe team has ascertained that the employees were working under serious occupational and safety hazards.

    [caption caption="Labour CS Ukur Yattani addresses the press during his tenure as governor"][/caption]