The Labour Department has reiterated that any foreign employment contract arranged in the country between individuals is illegal.
It has, therefore, warned that any such arrangement must be registered at the Labour Department for it to be legal and ensure the security of Ghanaian workers abroad.
Briefing the Daily Graphic in Accra, the Chief Labour Officer, Mr Eugene Korletey, the Deputy Chief Labour Officer, Mr Francis Ofori Kwansa, and an Assistant Chief Labour Officer, Mr Braimah Dawuda, said employment contracts to send workers abroad were governed by the Labour Law, 2003 (Act 651) and the Labour Regulations, 2007 (LI1833).
All processes for private employment agencies to operate were laid down in the labour law and labour regulations.
Part of the processes was that the Labour Department does not deal with individuals in the registration of private employment agencies.
The caution comes in the wake of reports of police arrest of some individuals who had been trafficking young girls from Nigeria to Kumasi to engage in prostitution, as well as some Ghanaian workers being maltreated in Gulf countries.
Last month, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) placed a temporary moratorium on the licensing of private employment agencies to engage the services of Ghanaians for foreign employment.
For his part, Mr Korletey said: “We deal only with corporate entities, thus a private employment agency desiring to regulate its affairs must have the status of a limited liability company.”
Additionally, in the registration process, the Labour Department, with the help of the security agencies, investigated the agency to verify if it was really registered as a corporate entity, and the background of the directors of the agency.
STRICT REGISTRATION PROCESS
Mr Korletey said the directors of the agency were taken through orientation, their offices were visited, and a security deposit of GH¢25,000 was paid into the government’s coffers before a licence was given.
“All these processes are to protect Ghanaians who may be engaged to work abroad. It is a strict process,” he said.
He said even after all the processes had been fulfilled, a private employment agency had to present anyone it was intending to take abroad to the Labour Department for the contract to be scrutinised and an orientation given before departure.
“Therefore, any contract of employment for a Ghanaian to work abroad should not be between an individual and another individual, but must be between the Ghanaian, a corporate entity and the Labour Department,” he added.
He said labour migration issues were complex and needed the collaboration of other agencies, such as the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).
“We have, in accordance with the law, given to the GIS samples of a proper documentation permitting an agency to transport Ghanaians out for work.”
“Such agencies, therefore, have the obligation not to allow the departure, if the documents are suspicious, or if they have no such documentation at the point of departure,” he said.