Ethiopia bans domestic workers from taking up jobs in UAE
Ethiopia, UAE governments working to solve issues and abuse faced by maids
The Ethiopian government has stopped sending women for employment as domestic workers in GCC countries, including the UAE, a government official confirmed to Gulf News yesterday.
The UAE government has also confirmed that the temporary ban is from the Ethiopian government’s side, and it’s applicable for a number of Arab countries, including all the GCC nations.
Sources at the Consulate General of Ethiopia in Dubai told Gulf News that the ban started last week and it’s still in force. However, the Ethiopian and the UAE governments are negotiating a memorandum of understanding (MoU), to safeguard the rights of Ethiopian domestic workers in the UAE.
“Recently, we have seen some cases in which our workers faced problems of nonpayment of wages and being denied health insurance. The temporary ban on recruitment of Ethiopian domestic workers is the first step to weeding out unscrupulous agencies and abusive sponsors,” the official said.
Every day, as many as 400 Ethiopians enter the UAE. “When they reach the country, most of them land in trouble, as they do not know they are to work as housemaids,” the official said.
As per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation’s announcement No 6, 2018, Ethiopian workers’ arrival in the UAE has been stopped temporarily. However, the ministry has urged typing centres, that prepare entry permits for Ethiopian workers, to be aware of the new ban. If they type entry permit applications for Ethiopian workers from December 11 onwards, the centre will be held responsible.
Gulf News visited a number of typing centres in Sharjah and Ajman on Tuesday and they confirmed that they have ceased typing applications for Ethiopian domestic workers.
Ethiopia has banned its citizens from applying for domestic or blue-collar jobs in the UAE until an agreement can be reached to protect their rights.
The Ethiopian government was alarmed by the increase in people being illegally recruited and trafficked to the country.
But the deployment ban could be lifted “very soon” once the labour agreement between the UAE and Ethiopia is finalised, the consulate official said. It will include the scope of work, limitations, and protection of maids, among other stipulations. Legal frameworks will also be in place to close all illegal channels through airports, immigration and all networks, and to bring violators to justice.
Every day, the Ethiopian Embassy in Dubai receives many complaints from its domestic workers related to abuse, harassment and rape, non-payment of salary to housemaids for several months or even years, in some cases, the official said.
He said an unknown number of Ethiopian domestic workers are in the country illegally, brought here by illegal agents mostly based in Ajman. “The UAE and Ethiopian governments are cooperating to fight illegal recruitment and human trafficking,” the official said.
Nearly 100,000 Ethiopians live in the UAE and a large number are maids. Picture for illustrative purposes.