UAE CONTEMPLATES FILLING UP 65,000 NURSING VACANCIES -GHANAIAN NURSES, OTHER SKILLS UNDER HIGH CONSIDERATION.
The United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Hon. Nasser Bin Thani Al Hamli has told his Ghanaian counterpart, Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations that 65,000 nurses would be required to support the healthcare delivery sector in the UAE.
The Ministers met on the sidelines of the just-ended International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, to brainstorm on collaboration between the two countries regarding skills transfer and improvements in the conditions of Ghanaian migrant labour in the UAE.
Hon. Baffour-Awuah said the Government of Ghana has been deeply concerned about the deficits in the conditions of Ghanaian workers in the Gulf Region, following incessant complaints to Ghana’s missions in the region, confirmed by alarming viral social media scenes of abuse and gross violations of fundamental human rights. These, he said were what led to Ghana’s decision to suspend any further recruitments to the region, hence the ban on recruitment to the Gulf States.
In his country’s defense, Hon. Al Hamli listed some critical steps that have already been taken to protect foreign workers in the UAE, central to which is a law passed purposely to protect the rights of workers. He said, for example that domestic workers are now entitled to 12 straight hours’ break from their work, adding that there is now a hotline in 17 languages for domestic workers to make complaints of abuse or unfair treatment.
He indicated further that prior to recruitment, a formal letter is given to the prospective recruit, stating the conditions and payments due the worker before the contract (which is “a replica” of the offer letter) is signed, if the contents of the letter are acceptable to the recruit.
When Hon. Baffour-Awuah tabled concerns about the payment of minimum wages, Hon. Al Hamli conceded that indeed there is no ‘minimum wage’ in the UAE, as remuneration is determined by forces of demand and supply on the labour market. “He said however that, the UAE is open to Ghana proposing an acceptable minimum wage for its workers for discussions”.
Hon. Baffour-Awuah indicated that there is the need to peruse the labour laws of both countries in order to choose the better option that favors the worker. He further advised that pre-departure orientations could be carried out to ensure that workers clearly understand the conditions under which they are being recruited, before they leave the shores of Ghana.
In response, Hon. Al Hamli said the UAE has great respect for diversity adding that “in the UAE, we practice what we preach”. Hon. Baffour Awuah thereafter used the opportunity to propose an invitation for the UAE Government to visit and evaluate the quality of Nursing Skills in Ghana to ascertain Ghana’s capacity to meet their requirements.
Hon. Baffour Awuah submitted that the existing ban is so far only limited to domestic workers, and that other personnel with technical know-how are also accessible in Ghana. He said his Ministry would be happy to know which other technical skills may be required by the UAE.
The UAE Minister invited his Ghanaian counterpart to witness for himself, centers purposely designated for the recruitment of domestic workers among others.
The UAE minister thanked Hon. Baffour-Awuah for the strides made so far and said the UAE looks forward to signing an MoU with Ghana on the issues as soon as possible.
Hon. Baffour-Awuah pledged to consult Cabinet on the matter at the earliest convenience.
Geneva; June 2019