Online Job Contract Attestation System proposed

ABU DHABI — The Indian Embassy in the UAE has come up with a proposal to introduce an online system for attestation of job contracts and other documents to curb exploitation of migrant workers by unscrupulous recruitment agencies.

By T. Ramavarman

Published: Wed 27 Jan 2010, 12:32 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:37 PM

The Ministry of Labour (MoL) of the UAE has evinced interest in the proposal, which has been worked out by Dr K. Ellankovan, Counsellor at Community Affairs Development of the embassy.

“The UAE government is very excited about the scheme,” Talmiz Ahmed, former Indian Ambassador to the UAE who has been transferred to Saudi Arabia, said before his departure on Saturday.

An employer in the UAE gets permission to recruit low-paid workers after getting the documents attested at the Indian mission office here. The documents include the model labour contract detailing the working and living conditions to be offered to the workers.The Indian workers whose passports carry the ‘Emigration Clearance Required (ECR)’ stamp can be recruited only after the recruiting agents get clearance from the offices of the Protector of Emigrants (PoE) in various parts of India. The PoEs give clearance based on the attested documents from the Indian mission offices.

Currently, these pre-recruitment attestations of documents are done manually at the Indian mission offices in labour-receiving countries. It is difficult to ensure that there are no discrepancies between the labour contracts submitted at the PoE offices and that are actually being signed between the employers and employees and submitted to the MoL here for visas.

The actual contract signed by the worker and the employer may offer lesser benefits to the former. And under the UAE law, only the contract submitted at the MoL office for visas has validity here, points out Dr Ellankovan.

In the new proposal, the documents will be attested through an online system. This system will be networked with all Indian missions in the labour-receiving countries and the PoE offices in various parts of India.

“The Labour Ministry in the UAE wants to be included in the connectivity that we have set up between the PoEs and the Emigration Department,” Ahmed said.

Once such a system is put in place, it will be easy to ensure that the labour contracts attested by the embassy and, signed between the employers and workers are the same. “We are in discussion with the UAE authorities on what kind of mechanisms can be put in place to ensure compatibility between those two documents,” Dr Ellankovan said.

This will drastically reduce the scope for exploitation of workers. The employers also benefit because they need not come to the embassy, Dr Ellankovan said.

A model contract designed as part of the scheme encapsulates recommended minimum wages and acceptable working and living conditions.

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