Saturday, January 21, 2006

Illegal expats run booming job rackets :: Gulf News

Information filled article by Diaa Hadid. Worth reading in full if you follow labor practices in the GCC.

Is it a racket or a service that is valued by all? It is illegal; should it be regularized rather than irradicated?

They serve a key market niche by directing people employed during the day to construction projects in dire need of workers.

So well established is their network that they also trade manpower supply among themselves.
. . .
These "recruitment agents" look inconspicuous and resemble ordinary construction workers. Lack of proper office space is no problem for them as they operate from small cafeterias and typing centres located in some of the busiest areas in Deira and Bur Dubai.

They charge both the illegal workers and the companies. The charge is Dh10 to Dh15 for the workers and Dh20 to Dh25 for companies per illegal worker.
. . .
Ask them about the trends in the labour market and they will provide you with their expertise like a seasoned market analyst.

"Do you really think that the labour market can do without the illegal manpower? The demand for labour is growing. When there are so many illegal residents roaming the streets of UAE, there is not need for the companies to import more labour," said Shoiab, an Egyptian 'recruitment agent'.
. . .
Market needs are dictating the regulation of the UAE labour force, including workers officials know are illegal, a top Labour Ministry official admitted to Gulf News.

"There is a need in the market and that is filling it," he said, explaining the absence of any crackdown on absconding and illegal labourers who were effectively running manpower organisations for other illegal labourers. Alternative measures introduced last year, including legally renting workers from other companies, have so far not succeeded.

The official said this was because of the high fees the ministry demanded for the transaction. Companies that legally rent out labourers from other companies are also obliged to provide all benefits to workers, including medical cover. They are also legally responsible for the workers, which industry insiders said dissuade companies from renting out workers through the Labour Ministry.
I need to line up some of these seasoned labor market analysts this semester to speak to my labor economics students.


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