The Director of the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS) of the University of Ghana, Professor Joseph Teye, has urged the government to lift the ban on recruitment of labour to the Gulf States because it has not stopped the trips or maltreatment of migrants.
Rather, he said the government should seek bilateral labour protection agreements with the popular destination countries to ensure the safety of migrants and help harness the benefits of migration.
Interacting with journalists on the sidelines of a Youth Researchers’ Seminar on migration in Accra, he said nearly two years after the ban, people were still being recruited to the Gulf States through middlemen while their safety later becomes a burden on the government.
The seminar dubbed “Migration Related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): raising awareness and bridging the gap between research and implementation” served as a platform for young researchers to share their studies.
Jointly organised by the CMS, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the President, it was also meant to increase awareness and advancing knowledge on the migration-related SDGs among the youth.
In 2017, the government placed a ban on the export of local labour such as domestic helps to countries because of widespread reports of maltreatment of Ghanaians in those countries.
But according to Prof Teye, “it is the responsibility to impose the ban but we are of the view that it should have been a temporal solution, it has taken more than a year and that is not acceptable.”
He said the ban had affected recruitment agencies which were operating registered and legitimate business and favouring middlemen, a situation which required urgent attention.
If managed effectively, he said migration, would contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the country pointing out that remittance, one of the benefits of migration, sent to Ghana in 2015 was $4.9 billion.
Prof Teye lauded the government for signing a bilateral agreement with Qatar, one of the Gulf States, last year and hoped that more of such would continue to address the maltreatment of Ghanaian migrants.
On the role the Centre had played in addressing migration issues, he said CMS had been working with the government and other partners to execute migration related programmes at both national and local levels.
To boost such efforts, he called for strengthening of international and local cooperation and partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration.
The project Development and reporting officer of IOM Ghana, Benedetta Mangialardo said the seminar was part of an IOM that policy coherence and achievement of the SDGs: at national and global levels and pledged the organisation’s commitment to support Ghana.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR