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Fri 24 Oct 2008 05:51 AM

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77% say more action needed to curb illegal Gulf workers

Arabian Business poll reveals concern over rules regarding region's labour force.

More needs to be done by authorities in the Gulf region to stop companies using illegal workers, according to the results of an Arabian Business poll.Just 23 percent of people who took part in our online poll believed governments were tough enough on companies that break the law and employ staff who do not have the valid documents to live in the GCC.

The opinions are revealed after nearly 200 companies in the UAE were caught hiring illegals during the first nine months of 2008.

The 196 firms have been referred to the public prosecution by the Ministry of Labour which claimed that the crackdown would continue.

But a majority of Arabian Business readers believe more action needs to be taken to deter companies from being tempted to hire illegal workers.

Forty-four percent of respondents said there were still far too many illegal employees working in the region while a further 19 percent believed that all companies caught breaking the labour law should be shut down immediately.

Another 14 percent of respondents said that while they appreciated local governments were trying to tackle the issue, more legislation was needed to crackdown on companies.

Last week, UAE labour ministry officials said that tough measures would continue to be taken against violators to ensure a safe society and a stable labour market in which workers' rights were protected.

Earlier in October, a Dubai court jailed a manager and fined his company more than six million dirhams for hiring 95 illegal workers.

The companies caught so far in 2008 were employing 612 illegal people in total and those workers have been deported.

Firms that employ illegal workers face a fine of 100,000 dirhams per person plus a jail term of a minimum of two months.

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