Months after the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced sweeping new procedures for recruitment of workers in the UAE, India on Sunday became the first major labour-exporting nation to adopt the new system. The new system, managed jointly by the UAE and India, will ensure workers are paid the same salary that is promised to them in their job contracts. The Indian government has said that blue-collar workers will be allowed to travel only after a verification of their job contracts.

This is a welcome step and long overdue as scores of workers have been duped by unscrupulous foreign recruitment agents in the past. Typically, workers from the sub-continent borrow money to pay for their visas and flight tickets. Moreover, after landing in the UAE, many of them have often discovered that their salaries are far less than what had been promised to them. All this will hopefully change with this new mechanism in place. This fresh initiative is the result of UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation’s determination to safeguard workers’ rights. In January, new rules were introduced by the ministry, paving the way for regulations to protect workers who are legally sponsored to enter the country. The rules ensure greater transparency, clarity and tighter monitoring of labour-contract conditions. More importantly, the rules included a new unified, standard labour contract, the terms of which cannot be altered or substituted unless approved by the ministry. Also, no clauses can be added to any contract unless compliant with and approved by the ministry.

The success of this system, however, depends on close cooperation between the UAE and all labour-exporting countries. Also, unscrupulous agents will make attempts to subvert the system and the ministry must remain alert to prevent them from taking advantage of the loopholes.