GAPEA raises red flag over recruitment ban

The Ghana Association of Private Employers Agencies (GAPEA) has threatened to embark on a demonstration on Tuesday, September 18, if government fails to lift the ban on the recruitment of workers to Gulf countries.

According to them, the 16 months ban has affected their businesses adversely.

“For the past 16 months now, we are out of business. Our clients in the Gulf are shifting from employing Ghanaians to employing other African nationals.

“As a result of the suspension, licensed agencies have also laid off some workers which further aggravate the unemployment situation and losing a lot of revenue that comes from the issuance of exit permit, medical examination fees.”

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GAPEA, Mr Abubakar Dan-L’man stated at a press conference in Accra yesterday.

He noted that GAPEA has 60 agencies operating legal businesses and registered by government.

“We are into legal business, we are fully registered and licensed by the government, we pay our taxes regularly and for many years now we have been playing significant role in providing thousands of good jobs abroad to Ghanaians and none of our members have been incriminated in any illegal activities.” he added

Mr  Dan-L’man bemoaned the fact that whilst legal operators and licensed company have been banned, the illegal operators continue to do business.

He said GHAPEA was the first to complain to the authorities about the activities of illegal agents which led to the ban by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to ensure the sanitisation of the industry.

The PRO said in a bid to support the government’s efforts to sanitise and rid the system of illegal agents, GHAPEA have supported the sector ministry by making significant input into a working document presented to the Attorney General’s Department.

He said licensing agencies have been very circumspect in their dealings and recruit only to fill in well researched and genuine vacancies, adding that it was hardly that any worker recruited by government licensed agency been repatriated because of maltreatment in the Gulf countries.

Mr Dan-L’man stated that few cases or repatriation recorded for licensed agencies have mostly been due to health reasons and the process had always been supported by the licensed agent .

He said the ban has also affected  some workers who have been to the Gulf countries already and on contract were back home on holidays have been prevented from travelling to work which has resulted in unemployment in the country.

It would be recalled that last year Government placed a temporary ban on the recruitment of workers to the Gulf countries after a hike in reported cases of abuse faced by migrant workers.

The directive followed calls by several human rights activists to ban visa issuance to Gulf countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Quatar, and Saudi Arabia to migrants travelling as domestic helps.

By Anita Nyarko-Yirenkyi

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