UAE urges ILO’s recognition on the temporary labour migration model and ensures protection over labour rights

GENEVA: The UAE has urged in a statement issued during a meeting held between ministers and heads of the Asia-Pacific Regional delegation the Director General of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder’s, recognition of the strategies followed by the GCC states in temporary labour mobility contracts and its various forms.

As the ILO has frequently pinpointed that labour migration forms must include the traditional permanent residency for those who reside in the receiving country, the UAE and GCC states have refused to go through the usual for various reasons, yet they’ve highlighted that they will secure protection for temporary workers residing on their territories.

The meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the International Labour Conference103rd session in Geneva, closely discussed Ryders report on fair immigration which states the immigrants right to possibly obtain a citizenship of the labour receiving country, yet Ryder has said that this era is coming to an end and is being replaced by other mechanisms of temporary labour contracts.

The Gulf states are following certain established systems regarding that issue that are intended to deliberately keep their features and characteristics, which is achieved by imposing restrictions on the duration of the labourers stay in the country. The report has also pointed out the need to ensure that workers receive all sorts of protection and ensure proper treatment while staying the receiving countries, and to underline interests of the GCC countries and advise the ILO to develop and to provide assistance on this issue.

Humaid bin Dimas Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Labour Affairs at the Ministry of Labour and representative of the UAE in the meeting, said, “We receive millions of foreign workers from around the world, and we recognize Ryders reports on the evolution of the temporary labour migration internationally, which perhaps is the most important model and has been adapted in a number of countries for efforts to fill the gaps between supply and demand in their labour markets.” He also said that it is necessary to understand that temporary labour migration doesn’t come over the expense of basic labour rights.

“We would like to emphasize that we in the United Arab Emirates will spare no effort in securing legal protection for temporary workers residing on our territory, we are fully aware of our responsibility to enable these workers to make the most of their stay and work, and the government is committed to development its legislative systems to overcome any obstacles that may impede the reach to this noble goal.

We are interested to emphasize in this context that despite the challenges that are associated with hosting more than four million foreign workers, the vast majority achieve their goals during their stay,” bin Dimas said.

Bin Dimas has stressed the United Arab Emirates keenness and responsibility to establishing solidarity between labour sending and receiving countries to improve labour migration issues, which is why and since 2008, the UAE has began the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue to continuously discuss major labour challenges and keep pace with international recognition.

Finally, Bin Dimas has recommend the International Labour Organization to provide systematic support for influential paths in the Gulf region, including Abu Dhabi Dialogue, “There are already initial signs of this support through the participation of the ILO regional offices in the implementation of some of the initiatives that we have mentioned previously”, he said.

“I’d like to kindly ask the ILO regional office to provide technical support to our initiatives aimed at measuring the impact of development on temporary labour contracts, particularly on its human and social dimensions in terms of developing human capital in other countries, and the effects of money transfers to families in labour sending countries which upgrades the health and education sector, and improves the empowerment of women.

All of that comes as a prelude to the development of policies and programs aimed at maximizing the cooperative development of this cost-effective initiative and broaden its base to take advantage of it,” he said.