UAE and Kuwait to develop labour qualifications and skills recognition framework

ABU DHABI: The U.A.E. Labour Ministry and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Kuwait have held talks to develop a comprehensive qualifications and skills recognition framework, based on National Occupation Skill Standards (NOSS), which improves recruitment and job matching practices.

Humaid bin Deemas, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, said during the talks, which were in Abu Dhabi, that the meeting underscored the keenness of the two brotherly countries to fully cooperate and coordinate to reach the GCC joint action to conduct a pilot project which aims at enhancing the Gulf labour market.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Omar Al Nuaimi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Policies and Strategy Affairs of the Ministry of Labour, Jamal Al-Dosari, Assistant Under-Secretary for Labour Affairs in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Kuwait and a number of concerned officials from the National Qualifications Authority, the Federal Demographic Council and Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council.

Bin Deemas said, “We’ve reviewed during the meeting, a draft relating to the pilot project, which aims at documenting labourers skills through a recognition process by handing out certificates that state their experience levels. This will also allow employers to obtain the required labourers that are fit to the nature of the existing profession and give them an estimate of the wages they deserve, while keeping in mind the advantages workers get by obtaining a professional certificate regarding their careers once they return to their homeland.”

He added, “It’s still at pre-operational stage, we will implement a trial by selecting a sample of workers in professions related to the construction sector in the labour markets of both countries then test those workers and measure their skill development with reference to certain criteria.” He stressed the importance of the trial phase which is expected to last for two years, particularly in terms of recording obstacles and constraints, then finding suitable implementations to overcome these problems when officially operating the project. The Pilot Project will be consulted on between the Gulf Cooperation Council members regarding the submission date which will be discussed within the Abu Dhabi Dialogue. The project is considered the first of its kind and will contribute to the improvement of the temporary contractual duty cycle which is beneficial to the development of international labour markets.

The meeting reviewed the preparations for the third session of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue which is scheduled to take place in Kuwait by November 2014, preceded by senior officials’ meetings, in addition to a preparatory expanded GCC Ministerial meeting.

The Abu Dhabi Dialogue enjoys a membership of 18 countries, including seven Asian temporary contractual labour-receptor countries including Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Malaysia and Kuwait, as well as 11 Asian labour-sending countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. It also witnesses monitoring participants such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

The U.A.E. will permanently host the dialogue, and will be a permanent member within the Dialogue’s Ministers Committee, which is a voluntary platform for council members.