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Our Correspondent

Hundreds of nurses who were stranded in the UAE after they were duped by recruitment agents, have been offered placements thanks to the kindness of many UAE-based private clinics and healthcare groups.

The agents had made promises of high salaries and other perks, and also told them that they would not need the mandatory licences as they would be working in vaccination centres. They had paid huge amounts to come to the country. Some of them had left stable jobs lured by higher salaries in the Gulf.

The trend of recruitment agents coming in with nurses looking for jobs had begun in February- March. For those who were able to find jobs through them, the agents had demanded 50 per cent of the nurse’s salaries as commission, which the healthcare groups did not agree. The agents who had made lofty promises in social media earlier did not return the money paid by the nurses for visa and allied expenses.

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The demand for nurses in the UAE rose last year with the setting up of field hospitals and vaccination centres. Groups like Aster sent nurses from Kerala but they returned after the requirement was fulfilled.

For now, the stranded nurses can work as nursing assistants or in allied temporary jobs as they do not have licences. The nurses now need to prove eligibility to be employable as registered nurses. Heads of clinics have offered to assist the nurses with licensing procedures. The duped nurses are scattered all over the UAE, from Fujairah to Dubai.

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The Consulate General of India in Dubai has also in touch with various community associations based in the UAE to identify and extend help to any such Indian national. “So far, the Consulate has not received any requests to repatriate Indian nurses,” stated a statement from the mission.

VPS Healthcare and Right Health are some of the healthcare groups that has come forward to assist the stranded nurses, reported Khaleej Times.

In the UAE, healthcare professionals need to procure a license issued in the emirate they wish to work in. In Dubai it is issued by the Health Regulation Department (HRD) of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Any healthcare professional with a valid and active DHA licence can transfer their licence to DOH, enabling them to work in the cities Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, or MOH to work in the northern emirates such as Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah  and Umm Al Quwain.

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Duped labourers turn lucky

Just a month ago in April, 64 labourers from India had been found living in a cramped one-bedroom apartment after they were cheated by an agent. Thanks to media reports and philanthropic organisations, 49 of them secured jobs in 20 companies in mid May. The rest returned to their homeland with the help of social workers and the Indian consulate.

Most of the workers were skilled carpenters and AC technicians from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi. They got absorbed as carpenters, masons, installers and helpers; their visas are under process and they have been given clean company accommodation.