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Indian minister V. Muraleedharan inaugurates the community event celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the Sharjah Indian Association auditorium on Wednesday. Image Credit:

Sharjah: India has offered a ray of hope for hundreds of Indian nurses facing job loss in the UAE due to a new educational qualification requirement.

The visiting junior foreign minister of India on Wednesday night told a large group of affected nurses that India had submitted to the UAE documents showing the list of nursing courses approved by the Indian Nursing Council.

As reported by Gulf News on Sunday, hundreds of Indian nurses with diploma certificates were facing job losses after the UAE health authorities made bachelor’s degree in nursing the minimum educational qualification for registered nurses.

Nurses at a hospital in Dubai [Picture for illustrative purposes only] Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Though several of them were willing to do, and some have already been attending an additional two-year course that would qualify them as degree holders, the nurses who studied outside the state of Kerala faced another hurdle. They were not getting an equivalency certificate for their diplomas done in other Indian states.

Addressing their issue at a community event to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in Sharjah, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan said the government of India had taken it up in right earnest.

Documents provided

“We have provided the requirements that the UAE government has been asking for and I am sure due consideration will be given to the documents provided by us and I hope that there will be positive outcome to this issue and a solution will be found in a very short span of time.”

“We will make all efforts so that those who have been working in this country, for no fault of theirs, will not be put to trouble. I hope the benevolent rulers will definitely understand their plight,” he added.

Meeting the aggrieved nurses after the event, the minister explained that a list of nursing courses recognised by the Indian Nursing Council has been submitted to the UAE’s Ministry of Education which issues equivalency certificate based on the recognition for the specific courses.

He also promised to meet the UAE ministers of health and education to find a solution for their issue during his next trip scheduled on November 7.

The nurses said the minister’s words gave them some solace and hope in getting their qualifications recognised. “We hope our diploma courses will also be recognised like in the case of nursing diplomas offered in Kerala. If we get the equivalency certificate only we can do the bridge course known as Post Basic BSc Nursing programme and continue to work here,” said one of the nurses.

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Indian minister V. Muraleedharan (in Nehru jacket) addresses a group of nurses at the Sharjah Indian Association on Wednesday night. Pic by Sajila

Sacking allegation

Meanwhile, a group of seven nurses alleged that they were sacked from an Ajman hospital even though they had completed this course from Ras Al Khaimah University.

“Our contracts were renewed for two years in December 2018 and we were told that we would be able to stay as we had almost finished the course which we started in 2017. But soon after we got the degree certificate in July, we were sacked saying we still needed to have two more years of experience after receiving the degree. We have worked here for more than eight years and we feel it is unfair to sack us saying we don’t have experience,” one of them briefed the minister.

They were urged to meet Vipul, Indian Consul General in Dubai on Thursday to study their situation separately

Accompanying the minister at the event, Vipul said: “We have been taking up diverse issues related to educational qualifications of nurses and teachers with the local authorities and some of them have already been sorted out. We are in the process of discussing and finding solutions for the rest,” he said.

Another group of teachers from Kerala also met the minister with a memorandum seeking help to get equivalency certificate for their courses done in private (parallel) colleges that were not affiliated to the universities. The minister said the government was studying their issue as well.

In his speech earlier, the minister stated that the Non-Resident Indians are a major pillar of India and their welfare is of big importance to the government. He also emphasized the need for following Gandhi’s principles in today’s world, especially his stance on environment protection.

Abu Dhabi Dialogue

In the UAE to attend the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, the minister said he had met the UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation on Wednesday.

He said discussions were held on upgrading the skills of Indian workers in mutually beneficial ways and on the proposed integration of the eMigrate online recruitment system of India with the MoHRE’s recruitment system.

These two topics are part of the agenda in the Abu Dhabi Dialogue taking place in Dubai on Thursday as well.

The minister said he also discussed about the effects of global economic slowdown which is resulting in loss of jobs and how to help Indian expats in such situations. “The UAE government is in full sympathy with those people and jointly we hope to find a solution [for such issues].”

Thanking the UAE leadership for their support for the Indian community, the minister the high level visits of both the countries’ leaders in the recent years have helped boost the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, which continue to explore cooperation in various new sectors as well.