An oversees employment bill tabled to the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) for approval introduces a provision that would allow the export of skilled manpower and professional workers. In order to facilitate this, it requires for the establishment of an overseas employment board.
The export of skilled and qualified professionals will be made based on a prior agreement, according to Government Whip, Mesfin Chernet who explained the draft bill to the House.
The government’s intention to start exporting skilled manpower to foreign countries was announced in 2019 by PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) in order to decrease the pressure of job creation for millions of Ethiopians graduating from college every year.
When ratified, thus, the bill will help the government send Ethiopians abroad through bilateral agreements to receiving nations, Mesfin said.
Furthermore, the bill proposes repealing of existing mandatory requirements of grade eight certificates to obtain overseas employment opportunities especially for domestic workers that go to the Middle East. This is said to help diminish the number of job seekers, especially domestic workers, that take illegal routes after failing to produce grade eight national exam certificates.
To this end, the draft bill establishes the Ethiopian Overseas Employment Board that will facilitate the export of skilled and professional human resource to foreign countries. The Board would coordinate with relevant stakeholders towards strengthening the implementation of overseas employment, and ensuring that the rights, safety, and dignity of Ethiopians employed overseas are protected.
According to the draft, the board will be chaired by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and its board members nominated by the Minister with an approval from the government.
According to the bill, the powers and responsibilities of the Board will be to ensure, follow-up, supervise and ascertain activities of sending manpower abroad are implemented according to the law.
Thus, the board will work to ensure that necessary measures are taken against those responsible for violation of Ethiopian workers’ rights and abuse in receiving countries and ensure that human traffickers are brought to justice.
After deliberating on the bill, the House referred the resolution to the Youth and Social Affairs Standing Committee for further scrutiny.
Although the number of overseas employees from Ethiopia is estimated to be three million, there is no clear data to corroborate this information. MoLSA also does not have a confirmed data of Ethiopians working abroad as many have travelled via illegal routes.