x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

UAE and Philippines near training deal

Workers would develop skills before arriving in Emirates under new plan.

ABU DHABI //The UAE and the Philippines are finalising plans to train Filipino workers in their home country for jobs in the Emirates, says a labour authority in Manila.

Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Labour, proposed the project last week, the Manila Bulletin reported at the weekend.

Rosalinda Baldoz, the Philippine labour secretary, was quoted as saying it was in Gulf states' interest to develop skilled workers as the Philippines was a major source of employees.

Last week, Mr Ghobash led the UAE delegation to Manila for the second Abu Dhabi Dialogue, an international labour conference attended by 20 countries.

The professions covered by the plan have yet to be determined but would depend on demand.

Nasser Munder, the Philippine labour attache, said demand was high for electricians, welders, machine operators and medical workers, who needed to be trained in the latest equipment before going to the UAE.

"The skills training will help ease their worries and boost their confidence," he said. "If they do not perform well they risk being sent home or are forced to receive a reduction on their salaries and benefits."

An estimated 10 million Filipinos work abroad, in more than 120 countries. Over the first 10 months of last year, those in the UAE sent home Dh2.6 billion, the Philippine central bank says.

Nhel Morona, the secretary general of the expatriate rights group Migrante-UAE, welcomed the new initiative.

"It's a good move but officials should ensure that it won't be an additional cost to the workers," Mr Morona said.

"Most receive training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority training centres in the Philippines.

"We recommend that receiving countries, including the UAE, certify or recognise these centres."

The Ministry of Labour could not be reached for comment.