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The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) started talks with the government of the United Arab Emirates to lift the ban on domestic
workers that are travelling to the Middle East nation for work. The ban was put in place in 2011 for reasons of human rights violations by recipient countries on Ethiopian domestic workers.
“Currently the Ethiopian Government and the government of the United Arab Emirates are discussing on signing terms of agreement that will ensure the safety of those who go to Dubai for work, the important thing for the Government is that Ethiopian citizens are treated well,” said Girma Sheleme Public Relations Department Directorate Director at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
MoLSA has such agreements with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the agreement ensures not only the safety of Ethiopian domestic workers in those countries but also guarantees that the workers will be paid a standard salary according to the countries’ rules and regulations.
“It is well known that there have been a lot of issues with human rights abuse, it has been all over the media. The Ethiopian Government finds it unacceptable that its citizens find themselves in this kind of harsh environment,” said Girma.
Since the ban on travelling to Dubai was put in place in 2011, many still kept going to the country illegally through different ways. Sources said that around 100 people per day go to Dubai through different airlines pretending that they are going to another country. Moreover sometimes they use visiting visa to travel.
“Those who use visiting or trade visas to get a job will only put themselves in a difficult situation; we won’t be able to protect them, most of them will be illegal aliens there, not to mention they have to pay around 10,000 birr when they process their travel arrangements illegally which is far more expensive than the legal one,” Girma stated.
The Directorate Director advised that first and foremost citizens should look within Ethiopia for job opportunities, but if traveling to other countries is necessary they should pursue it in a legal way.
The talks on the signing of an agreement that states that the recipient country where Ethiopian workers migrate to, will be held accountable for any abuse that is inflicted on them, is said to be currently on going but MoLSA has stated that the negotiation is on its final stage.