The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has deployed a data management system for the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs at a cost of 70,000 dollars.
The Ethiopian Migrants Data Management System is a decentralised migrant electronic registration software system designed by Philippine firm LBS eBusiness Solutions Corporation. The system took two years to develop and is currently being tested by the Ministry.
"We hope the system will contribute to the improvement of labour migration governance in Ethiopia through better coordination among pertinent stakeholders, as well as better protection for safe and regular migration," said ILO's Aida Awel, chief technical advisor to the project, the official name of which is Improved Labour Migration Governance to Protect Migrant Workers & Combat Irregular Migration in Ethiopia.
The system registers migrants through collaboration with governments and agencies, as well as through the individual will of applicants. Those that have applied for the registration can apply for special identification cards.
The management system documents the movement of employees from Ethiopia in pre-departure to other countries and their return through registrations at regional states, the Immigration Office and overseas embassies.
The Ministry plans to open an office at the Immigration Office dedicated to overseas employment and the issuance of ID cards, including checking up on migrant deployment.
"The main objective of this is to look after employees that have finalised the procurement requirements for overseas legal employment, especially in the Gulf countries," Buzualem Birzu, System Management team leader at the Ministry, said.
The system will also have a labour attaché at embassies assigned to oversee the safety and security of overseas employees.
This is one in a long line of preparations the Ministry has made before employees begin traveling to the Middle East in search of job opportunities. Since the 2013 travel ban was lifted, training centres were selected, 69 hospitals were assigned to provide medical checkups and 146 agencies were permitted to facilitate the process.
The number of Ethiopian migrants in different parts of the world is estimated to be more than three million. Approximately 24pc of these migrants are found in North America, while 17pc are reported to reside in Saudi Arabia, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry has a separate database that will be used for agencies and governments of migrant recipient countries to avoid network congestion. The Ministry is also planning to have its bandwidth upgraded to improve the rate of data transfer at its servers.
"The idea is to have a system that can avoid possible internet disruptions," Buzualem said.
Wubete Nigusse, an expert in computer applications and a lecturer at Kotebe Metropolitan University with a decade of experience, applauds the development of such a system.
"Going forward with modernising the system reduces costs and time in addition to facilitating operations," he said.