Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ethiopia freezes travel by citizens to the UAE for jobs

Ethiopia has decided that no citizens should go to the UAE for until agreement can be reached to protect their rights. The Ethiopian Consul-General in Dubai, Mesganu Arga Moach, said the freeze was a temporary move aimed at rooting out unscrupulous recruiters and putting an end to abuses. He said the freeze had been imposed because of the number of recruitment agencies working illegally.

Ethiopia wanted “an agreement with the UAE that ensures our nationals' rights.” The Consul-General said his office received “five to ten complaints a day from our citizens of abuse, unpaid salaries and people being beaten." Under Ethiopian law sponsors are required to provide medical insurance and undertake to pay a minimum monthly wage of Dh660. All contracts have to be sent to the Labour ministry in Addis Ababa, which provides workers with an ID card to work overseas. Mr. Mesganu said "We have excellent relations with the UAE Government but the problem is with the agencies. They do not cooperate with the consulate. So we want to put in proper controls on the Ethiopian side." Mr. Mesganu said the Government of Ethiopia would consider increasing the minimum wage and adding a clause for compulsory annual tickets home. A number of agencies in Ethiopia have been suspended and some have already been banned.

The UAE Ambassador to Ethiopia, Dr Yousif Eisa Hassan Alsabri, welcomed the ban as a move designed to “to regulate and safeguard people. It is good for the UAE and for Ethiopia.” He said his Embassy was also studying the matter and would send a report to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who would decide what action to take. An estimated 100,000 Ethiopians live in the UAE but only one agency is known to be legally recruiting Ethiopian workers. The UAE Ambassador urged existing sponsors and companies to authenticate Ethiopian employee contracts at the Dubai consulate, the only Ethiopian mission in the UAE. –(MFA)

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