Nepal, India labour supply to UAE goes under scanner

Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour and William Lacy Swing, Director General of the IOM. (Supplied)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the International Organisation for Migration have recently signed an agreement to conduct a field study about the Labour Recruitment Industry as per the framework of the Abu Dhabi dialogue, to develop an understanding of fundamental challenges facing labour sending/receiving countries.

Upon agreement, the study will target Labour Recruitment Industry between UAE, Kerala (India) and Nepal for one year.

The agreement was signed by Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, and William Lacy Swing, Director General of the IOM at the Ministry’s HQ in Dubai in the presence of Dr. Omar Al-Nuaimi, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry’s Policy and Strategy sector.

Ghobash said, "The signing of the agreement comes from the keenness of the UAE to continue their active role in developing procedures with regards to receiving temporary contractual labourers to come and serve in different sectors, while providing them with proper protection.

“Under the agreements of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, mechanisms are being developed between participating countries alongside relevant labour international organizations to exchange new ideas and experiences on best practices that will support and strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation efforts and partnerships.”

A press statement said: "The study which is conducted between the UAE, India, and Nepal will culminate in a report that provides a comprehensive analysis of the international labour recruitment industry’s structural features and the inter-relations between its various stakeholders from prospective workers, to sub-agents, to agents, to recruiters, to employers.

“The study will also develop a set of recommendations to address the structural flaws within the industry.”

The parties have also agreed to grant each of the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and Zayed University separate non-exclusive licenses to use the data generated from their respective activities under the Project for educational purposes.

Regarding the selection of migration corridors to study, IOM has selected Kerala and Nepal to UAE for several reasons, “The main reason was both have sizeable recruitment industries with large numbers of workers going to Gulf states, and both have well capacitated management studies institutions capable of taking on the research,” Swing said.

He further explained that the migration to the Gulf is more established in Kerala while it has only more recently emerged in Nepal; “Thus the study will allow us to look at potential differences that exist based on the maturity of the recruitment sector in different locations.

“And so, selecting two corridors will allow for comparisons of similarities and differences that can then shed light more broadly on the likelihoods of similarities and differences between other migration corridors across the (ADD) countries which can also be studied at a later date, however, from a management and financial perspective, selecting two corridors fits within the proposed budget and timeframe for the project.”

The Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD), which is expected to be held in Kuwait, enjoys the membership of 18 countries, including seven-receiving countries, namely, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, in addition to Kuwait as well as 11 labour-sending countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, while Japan, Singapore, South Korea take-turn  as observers.

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