GCC labour ministers to mull time-frame for expat workforce

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Dubai, Oct 6 (UNI) The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) labour ministers will consider a proposal to define a six-year time-frame for residency of foreign workers in member states.

If accepted the move will have a drastic impact on the employment of expatriates, including three million Indians in the GCC countries, the official news agency WAM said.

Meeting next month in Riyadh, the Labour Ministers Council will also explore the possibility of enacting law for domestic helps and creating a model system for local market database.

UAE's Minister of Labour Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka abi said the meeting would discuss what is called ''3'3 law'', which allows unskilled workforce to stay in the country for three years, which can be renewed for a similar term.

After the expiry of the six-year-contract, the worker will go back to his original country, the minister explained.

A labour market database scheme, he said, will also figure high on the agenda. The ministers will appraise the potential benefits the scheme is expected to generate.

The ministry and the National Human Resources Development and Employment Authority (Tanmia) had agreed to put the system on trial by mid-October. The proposal was initially mooted by Bahrain, Dr Al Ka abi added.

Earlier efforts to have a demographic balance by cutting down on foreign workforce have not succeeded particularly in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar which are seeing an oil-driven economic boom which cannot be sustained by the local workforce alone.


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