Ethiopia has banned its citizens from applying for domestic or blue-collar jobs in the UAE until an agreement can be reached to protect their rights, reports claim.

The UAE government has also confirmed that the temporary ban is from the Ethiopian government’s side, and it’s applicable for a number of Arab countries, including all the GCC nations.

Gulf News reported that the ban started last week and it’s still in force.

Ethiopian and the UAE governments are negotiating a memorandum of understanding (MoU), to safeguard the rights of Ethiopian domestic workers in the UAE.

Officials at Ethiopian embassy in UAE said the ban was implemented not only in the UAE but also other countries with whom their government does not have bilateral relations agreements.

“We will resume sending domestic workers after signing agreements with countries in order to provide sufficient protection to domestic workers and facilitate fair domestic labor contracts,” Jerusalem Amdemariam, Consul-General of Ethiopia, told a UAE-based Khaleej Times.

Jerusalem said they are now closely working with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in drafting a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

Once the MoU is finalized and signed, the ban – which took effect on December 11 – will be lifted, she said.

Ban rationale

The consul-general said Ethiopians had been coming to the UAE on visit visas and those who were not able to find jobs end up staying in the country illegally.

“So we appreciate that the UAE has implemented the amnesty, as many Ethiopians have benefitted from it and have legalized their visa status,” Jerusalem said.

Currently, around 30,000 Ethiopians in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have applied for the amnesty scheme, she said. People who were able to legalize their residency could continue working or looking for jobs in the country. They would be covered by the legal framework once it is finalized, she added.

Reports say, every day, as many as 400 Ethiopians enter the UAE. There is a significant Ethiopian population in the UAE — close to 100,000, a large number of which are domestic workers. (Daily Monitor)