India Diaspora
India, UAE to discuss welfare of Indian workers
May 9, 2007 - 2:34:24 PM

New Delhi, May 9 - The first meeting of a joint committee formed on the welfare of Indian workers in the United Arab Emirates - will be held in Abu Dhabi Thursday.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi leads an official Indian delegation for the meeting that will see both countries follow up on the various clauses of a memorandum of understanding - that was signed in December in India between the two countries.

'We will discuss the modalities for implementation of the accord in the course of the meeting,' a senior official of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs -, who is part of the delegation, told IANS.

'Among the issues that are on the agenda are exploring opportunities for employment of Indians in the UAE and protection of all - workers under the host country laws,' he said.

The two sides will also discuss the welfare measures for Indian 'household service workers' or housemaids in the UAE.

The MoU is the first of its kind signed by the UAE government and has immense significance for the protection and welfare of Indian workers in the UAE.

There are approximately 1.4 million Indians in the UAE, many of them working as contract labourers.

Under the MoU, all categories of workers will enjoy protection under the UAE labour law and regulations. Terms and conditions of the employment contract will have to be in conformity with the work permit that the employer obtains from the UAE government.

The MoU came into effect in December and will be valid for four years.

All contracts from now on will have to be authenticated by the UAE government and the employer will have no right to change the contract conditions.

Soon after signing the MoU last year, Ravi said that India was seeking to sign similar agreements with countries with a large concentration of Indian workers.

Last month, India had signed a similar agreement with Kuwait.

During the course of the visit to UAE, Ravi will also call on that country's Labour Minister Ali Bin Abdulla Al-Ka'abi.

Last month, Al-Ka'abi, who had accompanied UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the latter's official visit to India, had assured Ravi that the UAE was undertaking a number of labour reforms to ensure the welfare of foreign workers in that country.

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