Report: Gab to discuss migration’s quirks in Asia, Middle East

Written by Ruben Jeffrey Asuncion, OFW Journalism Consortium on . Posted in News Flash

MANILA–THIS city will be the venue for top labor officials across Asia to review attempts on improving their governments’ handling of overseas work.

These governments sending and receiving migrant workers will, at the Second Abu Dhabi Dialogue this April 17 to 19, attempt to find “bilateral, unilateral, and multilateral government actions” surrounding overseas employment.

The meeting, to be held at Sofitel Hotel in Manila, is the second leg that follows up an initial leg held last January 25 in Dubai.

But the meeting comes at the heels of visible issues surrounding labor migration in the Asian continent, such as Saudization (or the prioritized hiring of Saudi nationals over foreign workers), the ban of hiring domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines by the Saudi government since July last year, and the safety of migrant workers given Arab Spring uprisings in some Middle East countries.

The Dialogue is considered, in migration management parlance, a “regional consultative process” (RCP) that sees countries in a certain region find ways of determining solutions to problems associated with labor migration.

Initiated in 2008, the Abu Dhabi Dialogue consists of the 20 member-nations, 11 of which are countries of origin which belong to the Colombo Process (another example of an RCP): Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The remaining nine labor receiving states (mostly from the Middle East) are Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Singapore.

The Manila meeting will attempt to review the 2008 Abu Dhabi Declaration. That statement emphasized a “four-key action oriented partnerships” wherein labor-sending nations and labor receiving countries would work on improving the parameters of temporary contractual labor.

The said efforts would specifically delineate “the roles and responsibilities” of government and private entities in ensuring “a safe, protected and beneficial labor mobility,” create specific activities to “give effect to such partnerships” and the conceptualization of a regional multilateral framework on overseas employment.

Participants to the three-day dialogue will discuss seven areas: enhancement of workers’ employability, improvement ‘of the recruitment process, balancing the supply and demand sides of overseas employment, and the assistance to migrant workers for them to easily adapt to the rules and conditions of foreign employment.

This comes as labor mobility, trade and investment ties are further linking Asian nations with each other, DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

The Philippine government’s Department of Labor and Employment, as well as the United Arab Emirates government, will co-host the dialogue.

The Philippines is Asia’s leading sending country of migrant workers, as three Asian countries (including the Philippines) are among the world’s top four recipients of overseas remittances. As regards RCPs, the Philippines was instrumental in promulgating an declaration for the protection of migrant workers by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). OFW Journalism Consortium

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