The Indian cabinet on Thursday approved a pact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to safeguard the interests of the Indian workers in that country and to ensure their welfare.
The cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on December 13, 2006, Information and Broadcasting Minister PR Dasmunsi told reporters.
The MoU was signed by Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and UAE Minister for Labour Ali Bin Abdulla Al-Ka'abi to facilitate manpower recruitment and mutual sharing of information and experience.
There are approximately 1.4 million Indians in the UAE.
"Although we have bilateral labour agreements with Qatar and Jordan, there was no such bilateral arrangement with the UAE so far.
A bilateral agreement or MoU is especially important in the case of countries like the UAE since the local labour laws do not cover the workers in the informal sector," Dasmunsi said.
"The cabinet decision would benefit the Indian workers - un-skilled, semi-skilled and skilled alike."
The MoU is valid for four years and unless either of the parties decides to terminate it within this period, it will automatically extend for another four years, according to the minister.
"It will also ensure that future recruitment is in conformity with the laws of both countries.
In future the terms and conditions of employment contract will be in conformity with the work permit that the employer obtains from the UAE government and all contracts are authenticated by the UAE Labour Ministry," Dasmunsi said.
"The MoU will also ensure that the employer would have no authority to change the terms and conditions of employment with his employee," he said.
A joint committee consisting of three members from each country shall be responsible for the implementation of the MoU and will review job opportunities in the UAE and availability of corresponding skills in India.
The committee will have the powers to interpret the provisions of the MoU in case of any dispute and to settle the difficulties that might arise in the implementation as well as to propose review or amendment of any of the articles of this memorandum of understanding whenever necessary, explained Dasmunsi.