‘We’ll lobby Gulf countries to stop issuance of visas to domestic migrants’

Ignatius Baffour-Awuah - Minister of Employment and Labour Relations

Ignatius Baffour-Awuah – Minister of Employment and Labour Relations

The Ministries of Employment & Labour Relations and Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration will from next week engage embassies of Gulf countries to stop the issuance of visas directly to domestic migrant workers.

Only the 58 licensed agencies, which are in good standing with the Labour Department, are expected to represent and process Ghanaian domestic workers, who qualify to travel to the Gulf region to take up employment.

According to Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the move forms part of recommendations of the committee set up to develop measures for the effective management of foreign labour migration.

The committee, which was instituted in July this year to review processes in the exportation of labour to the Gulf region to check the incidence of exploitation of Ghanaian migrant domestic workers, officially presented its report to the Labour Minister on Friday.

The report proposed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration must issue directive to all concerned missions to deal with only the licensed employment agencies, which are recognised by the Labour Department.

The report also advocated that government must, as a matter of urgency, develop bilateral agreement with destination countries to improve the effective governance of labour migration.

Mr Awuah, who endorsed the recommendations of the report, said it was necessary to ensure that the welfare of Ghanaian workers in the Gulf region was protected.

He said that government was concerned about growing reports of abuses meted out to Ghanaian workers in the region, saying that the ministry was taking steps to sanitise the recruitment industry and ensure the right processes were followed in the exportation of labour to that region.

The report, he said would be forwarded to Cabinet before a decision on the current moratorium on the recruitment of domestic workers to the Gulf countries, would be taken.

“Currently, the ban is still in force. I am sure after the document has received the necessary attention from Cabinet, a decision would be taken on the way forward. The recommendations, as I have seen, would be useful in our attempt to sanitise the recruitment environment. Decision on whether the ban will be suspended or not will be communicated in due course,” the minister added.

Chairman of the committee, Sammy Longman-Attakumah, who presented the document to the minister, said the report contained inputs from all stakeholders including the Attorney General’s Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration as well as key agencies involved in migration.

He said the report would help in the implementation of strategies to weed out unlicensed private employment agencies.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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