The UAE will set up training centres in India with an aim to control the flow of unskilled workers into the country's construction industry and bypass private recruitment agencies.
According to a Gulf News report, foreign workers must shell out Rs 80,396 (6,000 dirhams) each to learn skills in their home countries before moving to the UAE.
"The UAE will start by opening an office in India in early 2013 to train and rehabilitate workforce," the National Productivity Improvement Programme manager at the Federal Demographic Council (FDC) Saeed Abdullah said.
He said that the ratio of unskilled labour in the construction sector amounts up to 85%. The workers will have to bear the cost of the training but will no longer have to pay thousands of dirhams to recruitment agencies or private travel agents to get jobs, he added.
While India is the first country where centres will be established, both Pakistan and Bangladesh will also have these centres. Abdullah said the "first batch of (trained) workers will be 5,000 in the first year, 20,000 in 2014 and 50,000 in 2015".
"The UAE government seeks to decrease the number of unskilled workers in the construction sector, considered a sector which employs the highest number of unskilled workers," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Industry representatives said that the new rule to train workers would likely result in companies being forced to raise wages to cover the cost.
"This will affect hiring conditions and wage levels," Chairman of Al Mansouri Construction Amer Al Mansouri said. He also warned that the new rule could make construction more expensive and called for the authorities to discuss the move with the UAE Contractors Association, developers and construction companies before reaching a final decision.