New system aims to protect workers
Posted on: Wed 04-Apr-2012
Abu Dhabi: The Indian Embassy and UAE Labour Ministry joined hands to launch the web-based attestation of job contracts of Indian workers, a unique system touted as a step forward in safeguarding the rights of workers.

The Contract Registration and Validation System is the result of joint efforts to emulate best practices in the process of hiring workers, Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Labour Minister, said yesterday, at the launch of the system at the ministry.

"It affords the worker the opportunity to review and approve the terms of the proposed work contract and working conditions prior to departing India and reporting to his or her job. Thus, it ensures full transparency of the contracting process, safeguarding the interests of worker and employer alike," he said.

The system allows electronic registration and validation of the job contract and the procedure will be mandatory for any employer in the UAE wishing to hire workers from India whose passports carry an Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) Stamp — for those who have not passed matriculation.

Currently, the job contracts of Indian workers with an ECR stamp have to be attested by the Indian Protector of Emigrants and the Indian Embassy. But unscrupulous agents make separate (fake) contracts for the above mentioned two authorities to get around the rules and regulations. However, there was no system to detect the discrepancy between the contracts submitted to these authorities.

The UAE Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs signed a protocol yesterday, in the presence of the respective ministers Saeed Gobash and Vayalar Ravi. The protocol comes from a comprehensive UAE-India Memorandum of Understanding on Manpower signed last September.

"The system protects the interests of workers as well as the employers," said Ravi, calling it a milestone in the efforts to upgrade rules and procedures governing contract employment of Indian nationals in the UAE.

The protocol mandates the informed consent and approval by the worker, the employer and the competent authorities in India of the full terms of the work contract prior to the worker's deployment to the UAE. The contract document is eventually signed by the worker and employer in the UAE and duly registered with the Ministry of Labour.

"The new system ensures complete transparency in the hiring process," M.K. Lokesh, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News.

The new system is activated by an online application by a UAE employer for the granting of work permits that requires disclosure of the key terms of the employment offer.

The Labour Ministry processes the application and provides access to the electronic record to Indian government-accredited recruitment agencies in India that are then required to obtain the worker's attested consent; a duly designated Indian government agency also accesses the record for the purpose of reviewing the terms of the employment and granting an emigration clearance accordingly. This is followed by the registration of the electronic contract and the issuance of the work permit by the UAE ministry, Lokesh explained.

"The worker will be informed by Indian government-accredited recruitment agencies regarding the terms offered in the job contract, including the salary, employment conditions and benefits, before they leave for UAE," Lokesh said.

The worker should sign the contract, accepting the terms mentioned, and then the competent Indian government authorities will approve it before a person is allowed into the UAE and a work permit is issued by the Labour Ministry, Saeed Gobash said.
(Gulf News)



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