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Sun 10 Feb 2008 01:55 PM

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India minimum wage decision due this month

Compulsory wage level for unskilled labourers in UAE expected by Feb.15, official says.

India will announce a minimum wage for its unskilled labourers working in the UAE this month as the government rolls out separate wages laws for each country in the GCC.

An official at the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi told ArabianBusiness.com on Sunday a decision on the UAE minimum wage was due by February 15, without giving any further details.

Once the wage law comes into effect, the Indian government will refuse to issue work visas for its citizens unless UAE employers agree to meet minimum wage requirements.

However, the minimum wage is not enforceable in the UAE, meaning companies are under no obligation to pay Indian labourers already working in the Emirates any more money.

According to the Indian embassy's website, the current minimum wage recommendation for an unskilled Indian labourer in the UAE is 600 to 650 dirhams ($163.4 to $177) per month.

The minimum wage recommendation has not been updated since 2005.

The Indian government on Wednesday banned its unskilled workers from migrating to Bahrain, unless they are paid a minimum wage of 100 Bahraini dinars ($265) a month.

The government is refusing to grant Bahrain work visas to unskilled labourers, unless they have contracts confirming the minimum wage.

The minimum wage legislation comes into force on March 1, and will apply to Indian workers already in Bahrain when their current contracts expire.

Indian workers in the Gulf are estimated to number from four to six million, with about one and half million believed to live in the UAE, accounting for about half of the country’s labour force.

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