Indians at the public reception for Narendra Modi at the Dubai cricket stadium in August 2015. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: Additional qualifications like a diploma generally translate into better wages for workers. But many Indian workers in the UAE who may have updated their skills are hampered by a technical problem — their qualification is not recognised by the UAE authorities, a top Indian diplomat told Gulf News.

A new strategic partnership between the UAE and India on skill development and mutual recognition of qualifications will help sort out this problem, Navdeep Singh Suri, India’s Ambassador to the UAE, said in an interview.

Both nations will create an institutional mechanism for mutual recognition of qualifications, which will help many Indian workers to get their qualifications recognised by the UAE and earn a better wage, he said.

Although the collaboration is mainly for skills and certification of workers, it can be extended to many other areas, especially emerging areas of technologies, the envoy said. “We even spoke [with the UAE officials about the possible cooperation] in the UAE’s ambitious programmes to get into the cutting edge technology and adopting blockchain in different parts of the government. It is a great objective! India has already embarked on a programme to train a lot of people in blockchain technology,” he said.

Therefore, the envoy said, India will be able to supply blockchain coders to the UAE and the new partnership will help India to align the training programmes and certification procedures with the UAE’s requirements.

As Gulf News reported on Tuesday, the UAE and India launched the new partnership at a forum in Dubai, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), supported by the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

The cooperation will enable the UAE to communicate with India the requirements of skills and their certification for Indian workers seeking jobs in the UAE.

Accordingly, India can align its ambitious skill-development programmes and certification procedures with the requirements of the UAE’s job market.

Dr Omar Al Nuaimi, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation Assistant Under-Secretary, said: “It is my hope that through this partnership, the UAE and India will lead the way regionally in making sure that the skilling of workers in our region is robust,” he told WAM.

The Indian ambassador told Gulf News that the collaboration between both nations will enable them to keep pace with the advanced technologies in many sectors [by designing and aligning the training and certification programmes in a mutually beneficial manner]. “You are not talking about yesterday’s technology but also tomorrow’s technology,” Suri said.

He said a new generation of workers has to be trained in all sectors. Even in construction, workers have to be trained in greater mechanisation and prefabrication technologies.

The ambassador said it is a long-term programme. “This is not the one to happen today or tomorrow. What we have embarked on is a very important programme. What you see is its first stage!” he said.

UAE welcomed 134,000 Indian workers last year

Around 134,000 Indian workers arrived in the UAE in 2017 through India’s eMigrate system that controls the emigration of blue-collar workers, qualified nurses and sailors etc., Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

However, the actual number of Indian workers who arrived in the UAE could be higher because many people find jobs while here on visit visas. They are not recorded on the eMigrate system, he said.

He said the joint efforts to integrate eMigrate with the UAE’s exclusive online portal for the recruitment of Indian workers are progressing smoothly.

The envoy said workers recruited through eMigrate get pre-departure orientation and training before leaving India. “They get training on soft skills as well.”

The envoy said India is trying to fix the gap between the training given to job seekers and market requirement. In the past, ITIs [Industrial Training Institutes] were producing technicians who did not meet the expectations of the industries.

“Having learned that lesson, today our skilling programmes — both vocational and short-term courses — are tuned to the requirement of the market. That’s why the interface between the government and the private sector becomes so crucial!” Suri said.

India’s ambitious skill-development programmes have brought industries on board. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is a partner in the programmes.

“Those programmes are for the domestic market. We are trying to make necessary changes in those programmes to train workers for foreign markets as well [under the partnership with the UAE],” the envoy said.

“The whole idea is that we want Indian workers to come here with better skills and better wages, and be more productive. And the UAE also wants better quality and better productivity,” Suri said.