x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Website to make hiring Indian workers easier

An online system would keep better track of Indian workers and help protect them from abuses such as contract substitution.

DUBAI //The Indian Embassy and the Ministry of Labour will soon launch an online system to make recruiting Indian blue-collar and domestic workers easier.

The new system will create a database of Indian labourers, help to prevent contract substitution and boost interaction between Indian and UAE authorities.

Contract substitution is when a worker signs a contract at home and is then told to sign an altered contract that could mean less wages and longer hours when they arrive.

The system will formally launch next month after a trial period.

"We don't have much data on the workers here," said MK Lokesh, the Indian ambassador to the UAE.

"Currently, there is a disconnect between various departments.

"We do not know who has been recruited or who has been given clearances in India, or what contract has been given to the Ministry of Labour."

Mr Lokesh said there was no proper database containing information about where semi-skilled or unskilled workers were employed, or the nature of their jobs.

"The online system will link all the departments together," he said. "Various approvals by the Indian authorities will be given online, and a database of the employer and the employees will also be available online for the UAE authorities."

The initiative - implemented for the first time by an Indian diplomatic mission - will also try to increase transparency and accountability, and help Indian authorities "understand the employers' perspective on recruitment issues", according to the Indian embassy's website.

The system will replace the manual process, where companies and employers must fill out a recruitment form and have it attested by the Indian missions.

Then they must obtain clearance from the Protector of Emigrants in India, based on the missions' attestations. Employers then approach the Labour Ministry for approvals.

Soon employers will have to register online and upload documents to seek approvals and attestations from authorities.

"This will be a major improvement over the existing system," said Mr Lokesh, adding the trial period in coming days would help overcome problems.

The Indian consulate in Dubai is expected to adopt the system later. More than 1.75 million Indian expatriates live in the Emirates.

A large chunk of this population consists of blue-collar and domestic workers.

Employers are being urged to register at uaeindians.org/recruitment.

pkannan@thenational.ae