The government has declared a ban on the recruitment of Ghanaians to work in foreign countries, especially in the Gulf region.
The moratorium on all the external employment agencies is part of measures to sanitize the recruitment industry.
It follows increasing reports of the activities of a high number of illegal external recruitment agencies whose operations have led to many Ghanaian labour migrants being exploited and abused in foreign countries, especially in the Gulf region.
Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, announcing the freeze on external recruitment, said the decision was necessitated by the “incessant reports of inhumane treatment meted out to some Ghanaian domestic workers in the Gulf States by their employers.”
The Minister announced the moratorium at a stakeholders meeting organised by the Ghana Association of Private Employment Agencies (GHAPEA) in Accra on Tuesday, with the aim of fashioning ways to flush out illegal recruitment agencies.
The stakeholder meeting had the theme, “The face of legal migration.”
According to the Minister, the menace of illegal recruitment has become a threat to national security which called for stringent remedial measures.
“As a measure, we have placed a temporal ban on the exportation of people to the Gulf especially those recruited for domestic purposes. I have instructed the Labour Office not to issue any further license until given clearance.
“I am not going to sign any document to export anybody until the system is sanitised and our institutions strengthened to meet with the current happenings in the industry,” the Minister said.
To ensure the success of the efforts to cleanse the system, he called for active collaboration among the stakeholders to identify and flush out the illegal employment agencies to prevent the exploitation of Ghanaian labour migrants.
He said: “As we respect the ban, let us name and shame the unscrupulous persons who have infiltrated the system and leaving these girls at the mercies of harsh conditions.”
In addition, he advised the youth seeking for jobs abroad to carefully examine the job offers and the recruitment agencies before accepting to travel abroad to take jobs.
“In as much as we need to work, let us carefully scrutinize these offers. Someone is taking you to the Gulf to work and you don’t even ask for the terms of the contract,” he said, adding that investigations have revealed that migrant workers from other countries working in the Gulf region are paid at least 3000 dollars a month, while their Ghanaians counterparts are paid as low as 700 dollars for the same job.
Alhaji Saeed Shereef, Chairman of GHAPEA, for his part, said that the association had identified about 200 unregistered agencies that recruit people to the Arab countries for domestic jobs.
He said the association continues to take steps to ensure sanity in the industry, and welcomed the action of the Ministry to place an embargo on recruitment to the Arab countries.
As part of the measures by the association, Alhaji Shereef presented a petition to the Minister, which among others requests, called for a ban on the “Direct to Home” recruitment and export of domestic workers which the association believes was the main source of abuse and it is where illegal agents operated with impunity.
The petition also urged the government to inform the various embassies of the need to deal with only licensed agencies especially GHAPEA members to bring sanity into the sector.
“We also urge government and other stakeholders to revise the entire process of labour migration, starting with the issuance of birth certificate, passport, police report, exit permit and ending with activities and process at the points of exit. These processes are fraught with loopholes which the illegal operators capitalise on to operate with impunity,” he added.
By: Adotey Mingle/adrdaily.com