Ethiopia: New data management system to protect labour migrants

Ethiopians who plan to emigrate regularly for work can soon apply to participate in a data management project that will record their movement. The programme, aimed at protecting workers traveling abroad, will be launched by the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

“The main objective of [the system] is to look after employees that have finalised the procurement requirements for overseas legal employment, especially in the Gulf countries,” said Buzualem Birzu, the team leader of the system management team at the Ministry.

As part of this initiative, members of staff will be appointed at relevant Ethiopian embassies to oversee the treatment of Ethiopian migrant workers. Once participants are registered, the system tracks their movement as they register at embassies and immigration offices in other countries. Participants are also eligible for a special identification card.

This new system forms part of a project called Improved Labour Migration Governance to Protect Migrant Workers and Combat Irregular Migration in Ethiopia, on which the Ethiopian government is partnering with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

The project’s chief technical advisor from ILO, Aida Awel, stated: “We hope the system will contribute to the improvement of labour migration governance in Ethiopia through better coordination among pertinent stakeholders, as well as better protection for safe and regular migration.”

Around 3 million Ethiopians currently work oversees. Many of these migrant workers are exploited. In particular, the working conditions for Ethiopian domestic workers in the Gulf States have been notoriously poor.

However, since Ethiopia lifted its travel ban on workers travelling to the Middle East in February, the government has been introducing measures to improve working conditions and increase regulated job opportunities for Ethiopians in the Gulf. Steps have been taken to regulate employment agencies and to establish training centres where migrant workers can learn about their rights before they leave.

The Ministry believes the new data management system will contribute to the bid to protects tens of thousands of Ethiopian migrant workers.

TMP – 24/12/2018

Photo: Ethiopia News Agency. Addis-Ababa, Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

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