Dubai - The ministry warned recruitment offices to not process entry permit applications.
Ethiopian domestic workers have been temporarily banned from entering the UAE, but an envoy in the country has clarified that it has been done based on Ethiopia's new overseas employment proclamation.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Jerusalem Amdemariam Tadesse, Consul-General of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, said the ban was implemented not only in the UAE but also other countries with whom their government does not have bilateral relations agreements.
"We will resume sending domestic workers after signing agreements with countries in order to provide sufficient protection to domestic workers and facilitate fair domestic labour contracts," Tadesse said.
Tadesse said they are now closely working with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in drafting a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Once the MoU is finalised and signed, the ban - which took effect on December 11 - will be lifted, she said.
She clarified that they appreciate the UAE's efforts in upholding workers' rights, especially "the good labour law it has issued in 2017".
"We stand with the country in its efforts to protect domestic workers," Tadesse said. With the MoU, they wanted to make sure that Ethiopian workers would benefit from the UAE's labour laws, she added.
Tadesse also said the ban is not applicable to workers who are already in the UAE.
The consul-general said Ethiopians had been coming to the UAE on visit visas and those who were not able to find jobs end up staying in the country illegally.
"So we appreciate that the UAE has implemented the amnesty, as many Ethiopians have benefitted from it and have legalised their visa status," she said.
Currently, around 30,000 Ethiopians in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have applied for the amnesty scheme, Tadesse said. People who were able to legalise their residency could continue working or looking for jobs in the country. They would be covered by the legal framework once it is finalised, she added.
Fight against trafficking
"The government of Ethiopia believes that legal workers will benefit both the UAE economy and the Ethiopian economy, so we are putting in place a legal base for workers here," according to Tadesse.
Aside from establishing bilateral ties, she said Ethiopia is fighting illegal recruitment practices across borders. In the UAE, they are working in close cooperation with Tadbeer offices and the authorities to address exploitation and human trafficking.