Domestic worker agencies blocked accounts under suspicion

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Confusion is being created among staff of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and banks after over 490 Domestic worker agencies presented USD 100,000 that was blocked from private companies to open offices and send Ethiopian workers to the Middle East.
A source close to the issue told Capital that the agencies presented blocked account letters totaling 1.4 billion birr to MoLSA, which allowed them to have open offices in Addis Ababa and other parts of the county.
“We talked to some of the agencies and they told us that banks are giving blocked account letters. However, the agencies don’t have the amount of money that is mentioned in the letter. The reason the banks are writing an over account letter is to allow domestic workers from the agencies to send their money by using the bank account when they start work abroad. But this is a crime and the government must look at it’’ the source said.
“The reason why the blocked account is needed is to give compensation to the domestic workers if a bad thing happens due to negligence by the agencies. If the agencies bring a false account figure, it is very hard to give compensation to the workers at a bad time. So getting the right blocked account is mandatory,” the source added.
Capital asked the license office at MoLSA about the problem. The office explained that so far they have not received any tangible evidence about fraudulent activity. They also said that Awash Bank asked MoLSA to get all the block account letters submitted to them to verify whether they are fake or not.
Currently over 100,000 job orders come from Saudi Arabia to hire Ethiopians as domestic workers, mainly housekeeping and caregiving. However, because the software in Ethiopia is incompatible with Saudi’s software to register and control domestic workers travel to Saudi still has not started.
According to proclamation 923/2016 direct domestic worker employment is only for staff where the employers is an Ethiopian mission or an international organization and where the job seeker acquires a job opportunity on their own accord in job positions other than house maid service.
Receiving countries should protect the life and the disability insurance coverage rights of domestic workers.
The proclamation requires domestic workers to have certificates proving that they have at least three months of training in their respective fields.