Over three hundred (300) illegal migration operators are causing great harm through reckless illegal migration scams in Ghana.
The “Direct to Home ” domestic worker migration scheme has been the modus operandi for these illegal migration operators.
Obviously, there are two main schemes of domestic worker labour migration. Under this circumstances, the candidates can either migrate under the safer company to company scheme or profitable but rather reckless “direct to homes” schemes.
The over 300 illegal agents , can only operate under the direct to home scheme, which is a dangerous but profitable. Black market which traps the candidates into slave -like conditions with no oversight .
However, in order to flush-out these illegal migration agencies; and also ensure the safety of Ghanaians, the Ghana Association of Private Employment Agencies(GHAPEA) has called on the government of Ghana to issue an immediate ban on all “direct to home ” worker scheme to the gulf states .
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting under theme: “The Face Of Legal Migration” in Accra, the Chairman of Ghana Association of Private Employment Agencies (GHAPEA) Alhaji Saeed Shereef, stated that their outfit is committed to sanitizing the industry and ensuring that every Ghanaian who has the intention of traveling to seek greener pastures can do so safely and successfully through their 26 Government licensed agencies.
According to him, the numerous cases of stranded and duped Ghanaians could be traced to irresponsible agents who operates without offices in the country.
This he said, the stakeholders meeting was aimed at interacting with the various stakeholders in the sector in order to cross-fertilize ideas on how to find a lasting solutions this illegal migration which is denting the image of the country.
Adding that ,GHAPEA has set a Task Force , which is ready to combat the unscrupulous illegal migration agencies.
It is obvious that, these illegal agencies operate with impunity, dragging the name of the noble business which creating numerous job opportunities for the youth into disrepute and also causing harm the country.
“It is very worrying to us to realize that many government authorities and stakeholders do not know or do not recognize the existence of GHAPEA.
According to him, GHAPEA was established on July 15, 2015, in the corridors of the Ghana Parliament, upon the directives of the then Parliamentary Select Committee for Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises.
Since then, our Association has been working assiduously to put itself in order to be able to achieve its aims and objectives. And also to surmount the problems of unemployment and illegal migration in the country.
This he said, currently with 26 members out of a total 52 agencies licensed with the Ghana Labor Department, GHAPEA has many success stories. These include:
- Within the first six month of its established, GHAPEA successfully wrote and started implementing its own constitution and code of ethics.
- GHAPEA was officially inaugurated after just a year of its establishment by the then Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Haruna Idrissu, MP.
- GHAPEA has successfully established good relations with some of the key stakeholders of legal migration- The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations- headed by the Hon . Ignatius Baffour Awuah, MP and Minister for Employment and Labour Relations , the Ghana Labour Department, the International Organizations for Migration (IOM), the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ministry of Interior (AHTU) of the Criminal Investigations Department , Police Headquarters –Accra.
- Members of GHAPEA have successfully secured decent jobs with lucrative remuneration for hundreds of Ghanaians who are now earning good wages.
“We stress again that direct to home recruitment of all Ghanaians must be banned”, he stated.
GHAPEA, also entreated the current government to consider the a reduction on the current Capitation fee from GH300 to GH 100 as it is driving their clients to the illegals who do not charge this fee.
However, we are commending the government for introducing the Online Passports.
“We are asking for the implementation of the Filipino or Brazil model where Agencies are given expedited services to speeding the eradication of unemployment”, he added.
This he said, government should endeavour to create a National Skills Bank for easy access to unemployed Ghanaians.
GHAPEA is interested in partnering with the Ministry of Employment and Labour relations for a National Skills Bank where we can easily and provide jobs to the unemployed Ghanaians.
More so,there should be a comprehensive re-integration and recognition programmes for circular migration participants upon contract completion .
Since Ghanaians in the diaspora have much to contribute to socio-economic development.
The General Secretary of Ghana Association of Private Employment Agencies (GHAPEA) Rev. Dr. Ashie Ocansey, also seized the opportunity to advise the Ghanaians who want to travel outside the country to seek for greener pasture should pass through the legal channel by contacting GHAPEA.
She further challenged the media to help educate the general public to enable them differentiate between Legal Migration which GHAPEA represents and the illegal migration represented by the illegal agents who according to research findings are now over 300 in number.
“We are calling on the government of Ghana to support GHAPEA by publishing the list of Government licensed agencies for the public to know the best agencies that can help them migrate legally and safely”, she added.
According to the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, who graced the meeting commended GHAPEA for working assiduously with the government to wipe out these illegal migration agencies in the country. He has therefore pledged to work closely with GHAPEA to help sanitize the system completely.
By: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo