Abuja – Nigeria and Qatar on Thursday commenced negotiation on a policy that would guarantee the general welfare of the migrant employees in both countries.

Dr Clement Illoh, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity, said this at an Inter-Ministerial Preparatory meeting on Bilateral Labour Agreement between Nigeria and Qatar in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Qatar, had in 2014, requested for the employment of manpower from Nigeria.

Illoh said that the National Policy on Labour approved by the Federal Executive Council in October 2014, covered three broad objectives of promotion of good governance of labour migration, protection of migrant workers and promotion of their welfare and that of the families left behind.

It also touched on optimising the benefits of labour migration on development while mitigating its adverse impact.

“In this regard, the request by Qatar for employment of manpower from Nigeria is a validation of human resources in the country.

“This is a welcome development amid the thinning job opportunities and the recent global crisis of migration.

“Thus, this meeting is important to scrutinise the draft Nigeria-Qatar Bilateral Agreement, to maximse the inherent befits therein and check the potential negative outcome in its implementation.”

Illoh said that it was important to consider the modalities that would govern the cooperation agencies, vacancy notification, recruitment and selection.

Other issues include residence and work permits, terms of condition of employment, dispute settlement and social security, among others.

Ms Enira Krdzalic, the Chief Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said the meeting was convened to formalise the process.

“Today’s meeting is convened in response to the shared desire by Nigeria and Qatar to formalise the process of recruiting Nigerians to work in Qatar through a bilateral labour agreement.

“This initiative presents a timely opportunity for Nigeria to explore employment opportunities for its nationals in a state featuring employment opportunities in several economic sectors and across various skill levels.

Krdzalic also said that both countries must meet certain conditions needed to demonstrate joint responsibility in managing migration flow.

She said that both countries must jointly build coherent set of measures, incentives and division of labour among each other’s key actors.

She said that Nigeria and Qatar must ensure effective inter-institutional coordination and information sharing within and must adhere to the administrative efficiency all through the migration cycle from recruitment to return.

She said that both countries must ensure timely labour matching and also put in place a mechanism for monitoring progress and identify challenges and mobilisation of resources to address capacity constraints.

“This is to say that for Nigeria as an origin country, the bilateral labour agreement should include provisions achievable within its capacity.

“The agreement should aim to ensure continuous access to the labour market while taking cognisance of domestic labour market needs.

“ It should regulate labour migration, contain legal grounds for protection of Nigerians and define the regulatory and cooperative terms and frameworks with Qatar for managing the labour exchange programme.”

Krdzalic also urged both countries to define a mechanism for controlling irregular migration and distinct infrastructure for the selected labour migrants’ return and re-integration.

She added that the meeting also provided a platform for stakeholders that would constitute the delegation to Doha to deliberate on the bilateral labour agreement in Qatar on Oct. 21 and 22. (NAN)

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