Declarations to manage temporary labour contractual agreements

ABU DHABI, 29th January, 2017 (WAM) — The fourth Abu Dhabi Dialogue Consultative Ministerial Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has announced four declarations as per The Colombo Declaration Draft, which acts as a collaborative agenda for the next two-year cycle, 2017 – 2018, tackling projects and initiatives relating to temporary labour contracts between ‘countries of origin and destination’ in Asia.

“The cooperation aims to enhance the outcomes of temporary contract employment in our region and improve the quality of the lives of workers and their families, leveraging the credibility that the Abu Dhabi Dialogue process enjoys today at regional and international levels and the respect and support it receives from various international organisations,” according to the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, MoHRE.

The declarations were issued at the conclusion of the meeting, which was held recently with the participation of Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, alongside other ministers of labour and participating member delegations from, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman and Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

The first declaration tackled issues related to labour recruitment, as practices associated with the contract workers in the region’s corridors continue to represent a challenge and to compromise shared goal of fair and equitable governance of labour mobility. The meeting declared to lend priority to regional cooperation aimed at promoting lawful, fair and transparent labour recruitment practices and further empowering member governments to scrutinise and prevent unlawful practices and to hold to account any and all non-compliant actors in recruitment processes.

On skill certification and mutual recognition, the board recognised that training and skill development have become essential, both as an imperative for successful national employment policies in Asian countries of origin and to accommodate the growing need for skilled workers in the GCC’s transition to knowledge economies.

The declaration sheds light on the use of technology to facilitate and improve the outcomes of labour mobility in Asia, following the increased use of technology and digital platforms by member states in administering labour mobility, as well as the development and deployment of successfully shared platforms by pairs of ADD governments, notably the Musanid platform developed by Saudi Arabia and jointly implemented by the Kingdom with Bangladesh and other member states.

The declaration advocates global consultations on the adoption of a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, especially in reference to the large labour mobility flows in the Asia-GCC corridors and the immense contribution the mobility of temporary contract workers has made and is expected to continue to make to the development of countries of origin and destination alike.

In 2008, the UAE took the groundbreaking step of hosting an inaugural Ministerial Consultation in Abu Dhabi of Asian destination countries with the Colombo Process states on the theme of, “Contractual Labour Mobility in Asia: Key Partnerships for Development between Countries of Origin and Destination”.

The meeting highlighted the potential of contractual labour mobility to benefit overseas workers as well as the development of both countries of origin and destination in Asia.

This Ministerial Meeting brought together for the first time the Colombo Process states with the GCC states, plus Yemen and two additional Asian countries of destination, Malaysia and Singapore, in the first meeting of the “Abu Dhabi Dialogue”.