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Wed 22 Dec 2010 09:21 AM

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Labour rule puts expats and Emiratis ‘on equal footing’

Ministry of Labour source says ruling will give workers more freedom to capitalise on job market

Labour rule puts expats and Emiratis ‘on equal footing’
The new ruling will mean skilled and professional workers no longer need a no-objection certificate from a former employer to take up a new job

A
new labour law allowing foreign workers to transfer their work permits across employers will put expats and nationals on the same playing field,
with equal ability to move around the job market, a Ministry of Labour source
said.

“Before
it wasn’t possible [for expats] to transfer a work permit from your first
employer to your second employer without the first employer’s approval, and now
you can,” said the official, who declined to be named. “That’s a huge change.

“This is the ultimate freedom available in the
working environment,” the source said. “You can go from job one to job two to job
three. With this, the employer has no real control of the expat.”

The
new ruling, which will take effect on the first of the year, will mean skilled
and professional workers no longer need a no-objection certificate from a former
employer to take up a new job.

Instead,
they will need a Ministry of Labour stamp.

The
only caveat is if an employee is leaving a job before the contract period is
over. In that case, the first employer still has the right to deny the request,
the source told Arabian Business.

Unskilled
and semi-skilled workers will still need their employers’ consent, but only in
the first two years of a contract.

Under
current labour laws, employers can refuse to issue a certificate of no-objection, resulting
in expatriate workers having to leave the country for six months.

The
source said the bylaw, passed three days ago, was in discussion at the ministry
for at least a year.

The
move would go some way towards stopping keep highly skilled workers from
leaving the country, the source said.

“This
is to increase the flexibility of the labour market, transparency, the relation
between employers and employees and give more confidence to the employees.
We’re aiming for more productivity and to increase competition within the
labour market.”