14 September 2011 - New Delhi
India and the UAE on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding on manpower, revising existing mechanisms to protect the interests of Indian workers in the emirate, including measures to ensure that their employment contracts are followed in letter and spirit.
The MoU was signed by Indian Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and UAE Labour Minister Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash here. The agreement provides a boost to the initiative of implementing a programme of web-based attestation for employment contracts among other things.
Ravi said that over the last five years there has been a considerable improvement in the condition of Indian workers in the UAE.
The MoU, which is basically a revision and upgradation of a 2006 MoU, aims to set tight procedures for workers and lay down clear responsibilities on both the employers and the employees to make sure the interests of the workers are not compromised.
It also entails provisions for sharing information and data between the two ministries to further strengthen authentication and protection. “While the last five years have seen steady improvement in treatment of workers, some concerns like the role of intermediary agents remain,” Ravi said.
“Through the web-based attestation programme that we are trying to initiate, we want to ensure that no changes or substitutions can be made in the terms of contracts by the employers unless with the consent of the worker,” he said. The UAE minister is on a three-day visit to India during which he will also travel to Hyderabad and Trivandrum to meet top government officials of the two states and Andhra Pradesh and Kerala Chief Ministers Kiran Kumar Reddy and Oomen Chandy respectively.
The officials of the two ministries are discussing modalities of the web-based attestation programme, Ravi said. The system will help ensure that same documents and job contracts are submitted to authorities on both the sides.
“Through our initiatives, we want to make sure that terms of contracts between an employer and employee are determined before the worker leaves India, and the relevant Indian authorities get to scrutinise them,” said Gobash.
The meeting held on Tuesday also set in motion a process of establishing joint working groups to implement its provisions.