UAE plans pioneering project for expat workers

October 30th, 2008 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 30 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will launch a pilot project involving Indian and Filipino workers to improve living and working conditions of expatriate Asian contractual workers in this Gulf nation.The UAE’s Minister for Labour Saqr Gobash Thursday outlined the project, which will survey and document best practices in the management of temporary contractual employment cycle, the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported from Manila, where the minister is attending the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

At the plenary session of the forum Gobash announced that the UAE, in consultation with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, had taken the initiative to propose to the governments of India and the Philippines to set up the project.

Of around 1.5 million expatriate Indians in the UAE, a large number work as contract labourers in the country’s booming construction industry.

According to the WAM report, Gobash said at a press conference in the Philippines capital that the three governments have now agreed to collaborate towards the development of such a pilot project with expert inputs from the Arab Labour Organisation (ALO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Organisation on Migration (IOM).

The overall goal of the project is to test a range of practical measures that will serve to improve the quality of life and work of contractual workers, he said.

The project seeks to improve the quality of recruitment, induction and other pre-deployment processes, and then to provide the workers with decent working and living conditions during their temporary contractual employment and residency in the host country.

Around 3,000 workers from India and Philippines will participate in this pilot project, which will present a model system to improve the living conditions of all contractual workers, the minister stated.

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing has welcomed the initiative saying that the UAE has launched a pioneering project in the region.

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