More protection for Filipino workers arriving in UAE

ABU DHABI // Filipinos arriving in the UAE will be assured of greater protection after new labour recruitment rules came into force this month, the Philippines’ vice-president said. On Tuesday, Jejomar Binay met Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Labour, during his four-day visit to the UAE. Labour reforms are designed to benefit the employer and […]

ABU DHABI // Filipinos arriving in the UAE will be assured of greater protection after new labour recruitment rules came into force this month, the Philippines’ vice-president said.

On Tuesday, Jejomar Binay met Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Labour, during his four-day visit to the UAE.

Labour reforms are designed to benefit the employer and employee through three decrees to ensure transparency and compliance in labour contracts, including terms of termination.

Mr Binay told members of the Bayanihan UAE, which represents 57 Filipino community groups in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain: “The Minister and I spoke about the problems facing our Filipino workers, particularly those victimised by illegal recruiters here and back home.

“Many who take in jobs in the UAE go through another country, such as Malaysia and Singapore, where their job contracts are signed.”

Mr Binay was referring to third-country recruitment, which is considered illegal as the recruiter or employer have no licence or authority from the Philippine overseas employment administration (Poea) in Manila.

“If we put an end to illegal recruitment, we’ll have fewer Filipinos complaining about substandard or inferior contracts, non-payment of wages and other work-related problems here in the UAE,” he said.

Ophelia Almenario, the labour attaché at the Philippine overseas labour office in Abu Dhabi, said there was a discussion on the three new labour rules: ministry-approved contracts, conditions for terminating employees and labour permits to work for new employers.

“We welcome all these new reforms that ensure transparency and afford greater employee mobility,” she said.

Under the new policies, prospective foreign workers would be asked to sign a standard employment offer in their home country, which would be filed with the Ministry of Labour before a work permit was issued.

That agreement would then be registered as a legal contract once the worker arrived in the UAE, and no changes would be allowed unless they were additional benefits that the worker agreed to.

“At the meeting, the top labour ministry officials also provided us with a status update on our agreement related to the recruitment and employment of all types of Filipino workers,” Ms Almenario said.

The deal will amend an old agreement signed in Manila on April 9, 2007, by the labour minister at the time, Dr Ali Al Kaabi, and Arturo Brion, who was the Philippines labour secretary.

“Some provisions of this agreement are still being refined, and we were told that the ball is now in our court,” Ms Almenario said.

This agreement does not cover household staff such as maids, nannies, gardeners, cooks or family drivers, as they fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior.

“As for the re-deployment of domestic workers to the UAE, we expect another round of talks to take place with the UAE labour ministry officials within the first quarter of this year,” Ms Almario said.

In June 2014, the Ministry of Interior introduced a unified contract for domestic workers that led to the suspension of the Philippines’ role in verifying and attesting contracts.

rruiz@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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