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India and UAE to engage strongly on skills harmonisation

Apr 23, 2018

Partnership to meet UAE's skill demands & ensure Indian workers get due skill-premium

DUBAI, 23 April 2018.  Dr. KP Krishnan, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India, has expressed India's commitment to jointly work with the UAE Government and draw a mutually beneficial roadmap to ensure that the workers' skills and qualifications can be assessed, certified and recognized. This partnership  which can meet the skill demands of UAE's employers and ensure  that Indian workers are paid adequate skill-premium.

Dr. Krishnan was addressing the skill mapping conference organised by FICCI, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), Government of UAE and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India. The event was supported by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

 The objective of the conference was to deliberate on the human workforce requirements in the UAE and the support that could be extended by the Government of India.

It was attended by a strong delegation from India, led by Dr. Krishnan, and Mr. TV Mohandas Pai, Chair, FICCI Skill Development Committee and Chairman, Aaron Capital. The event was also represented by Mr. Navdeep Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE; Mr. Manish Kumar, CEO & MD, National Skill Development Corporation; Ms. Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI; Mr. Amar Nath Jha, CEO, Jharkhand Skill Development Mission Society;  Mr. Humaid Mohammed Bin Salem, Secretary General of the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Dr. Thani Al Muhairi, Director General of the UAE's National Qualifications Authority. Prominent UAE-based employers who recruit Indian workers and representatives of registered recruiting agencies from India also participated in the conference.

Mr. TV Mohandas Pai in his address, said, "The new global markets driven by industry 4.0 are accelerating the demand for higher order skills within eachoccupation. This requires a robust assessment of migrating skilled workers and mapping of labour market in demand side country to ensure placement of right candidates in the right jobs. Further we need studies on productivity to attracthighly skilled people at the right wages. This will address the issue of stagnant wages, which often leads to flow of inadequately skilled people."

Dr Omar Al Nuaimi, Assistant Under-Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said, "This event is a testament to the fact that we have already hit the ground running, following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on labour between the governments of India and the UAE earlier this year. As the UAE moves towards a knowledge economy, the demand for skilled labour is going to increase, and we see India as one of the key suppliers for high skilled workers in the future."

Mr. Navdeep Suri said, "The UAE is one of our largest overseas job markets and it is vital that we match our skills programes with the job market here so that our workers can move up the value chain. Our e-migrate system and minimum reference wages are designed to help our migrant workers get a better life and to ensure that we don't end up exporting poverty."

Speaking about the demand and supply of skilled labour, Mr. Manish Kumar said, "Our interaction with state and private leadership in the UAE aims to develop priorities, design platforms, and address experiences of the Indian workforce in the UAE. The priorities include assessments of local labour market, examination of the supply of the Indian workforce to UAE and meeting parameters such as quality, credibility and cultural fit. The participants agreed that a mutually beneficial labour exchange needs to be embedded in clear G2G demand articulation which must be supported by a clear quality mandate mutually acceptable to both the countries". 

Ms Shobha Mishra Ghosh said, "FICCI would work more closely  with the stakeholders in India and the UAE to draw a roadmap on key outcomes of the deliberations. As India transition towards being a modern skill-based economy a focused approach is needed to skill, re-skill and up-skill the workforce for better labour mobility and social security benefits to the workers". 

Dr Thani Al Muhairi  appreciated FICCI�s organisation of the event. He said that "Today's event has made an important contribution to the debate on the importance of mutual recognition of skills, with all contributors adding depth to the understanding of the issues at hand. The collaboration between India and the UAE in the field of skilling is something that the NQA looks forward to being closely involved in."

Mr Humaid Mohammed Bin Salem, pointed out that "As the voice of business in the UAE, FICCI is intensely focused on improving the skills mix available to UAE employers. The harmonisation of skills will enable UAE businesses looking to invest in India to do so in the knowledge that there is compatibility in terms of workforce standards. Joint recognition of skills therefore, has the potential to be a pillar of the mutual exchange of people, goods and services."

Panel discussions on skilled labour supply and demand and skill harmonisation between India and UAE were held during the conference. The discussions on skilled labour supply considered the impact of the Indian government's programme to invest in skills, with focus on key sectors and mobility pathways for skilled workers. The panel on skilled labour demand addressed the acceleration of joint recognition of skills certification and included the case for requiring structured skilling of domestic labour.

The event culminated with the two governments announcing a partnership to strengthen the certification and joint recognition of skills. Both India and the UAE have agreed to engage with each other on skills harmonisation, aimed at matching India's programmes for up-skilling workers with the requirements of UAE's job market.