According to officials from the MoL in Abu Dhabi and the Philippine Consulate-General (PCG) in Dubai, UAE Minister of Labour Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi will begin his week-long visit to Manila today to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Philippine Labour and Employment Secretary Arturo Brion.
Mohammed Al Zaabi, Director of the International Relations Department at the MoL, told Khaleej Times that Dr Al Kaabi’s visit will focus on coordinating efforts between the two labour agencies for a more systematic method of bringing in workers from the Philippines.
The MoU will also include the creation of an Electronic Connection (e-Connection) System, which will be shared by both the countries, so as to regulate the terms and conditions stipulated in Filipino workers’ labour contracts.
Under the agreement, UAE-MoL satellite offices will be set up in the Philippines. “These offices will be opened in various cities within the Philippines to protect labourers from being exploited by their employers,” said Al Zaabi.
Philippine Consul-General Antonio S. Curameng explained that the MoU will consider other issues such as visa issuance, working conditions and labour rights for all skilled and professional workers. Household workers, however, are not covered as their visas are issued by the UAE Ministry of Immigration, and not the MoL.
Curameng said the bilateral agreement will be beneficial to all Filipinos seeking to work in the Emirates. “Through this, we can be assured that the rights of Filipino workers will be protected. The employment processes will be more orderly and no worker can be deployed here without necessary documents. This will minimise problems that are usually associated with manpower exploitation.”
Currently, an estimated 250,000 registered Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are residing in the UAE. But in an independent research conducted last year by a group of Filipino community leaders based in Dubai, it was noted that “around 500 to 700 Filipinos arrive in the UAE every day”, most of whom are on visit visas and look for employment here.
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