By Andy Sambidge
Training centres to be set up in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh for new construction workers
The UAE is to set up training centres in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in a bid to cut down on the number of unskilled construction workers entering the country.
The move comes as the UAE's Federal Demographic Council (FDC) seeks to reduce the percentage of unskilled workers in the sector which currently stands at 85 percent, state news agency WAM reported, citing Gulf News.
It said up to 5,000 Indian workers would be trained in the first year, 20,000 in 2014 and up to 50,000 in 2015.
"The UAE will start by opening an office in India in early 2013 to train and rehabilitate workforce," it quoted Saeed Abdullah, the national productivity improvement programme manager at the FDC as saying.
"The UAE government seeks to decrease the number of unskilled workers in the construction sector, considered a sector which employs the highest number of unskilled workers," he said.
Workers will have to pay the cost of training - estimated to be up to AED6,000 - but will no longer have to pay recruitment agencies or private travel agents to get jobs.
India will be the first country where centres will be set up while both Pakistan and Bangladesh will follow, WAM reported.
Last May, the UAE government said it was to implement new limits on the importation of unskilled workers as part of a policy to balance the country's demographic structure.
The Federal Cabinet said the "uncontrolled import of unskilled labourers should be limited and replaced by recruitment from within the UAE".
The UAE will instead focus on bringing in highly skilled workers based on "accredited professional and educational certificates".
In a bid to lessen the unskilled workers in the construction sector, the largest employer of this kind of manpower, the Cabinet instructed agencies to define a set of guidelines to improve productivity and limit the number of unskilled workers needed.
The UAE's handling of its demographic structure is one of government's top priorities, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's ruler said at the time.
I hope this will include basic occupational health ans safety training as well so they are prepared when they arrive in UAE.