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Tue 4 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Skilled construction workers to be exempt from six month ban

UAE’s Ministry of the Interior studies draw-backs of banning skilled and experienced workers and will make changes

Construction workers from overseas with good skills and experience will not get a six month ban upon the cancellation of their employment visas, according to officials at the UAE’s Ministry of the Interior.

Authorities have been considering exempting all experienced foreign workers who are needed in the labour market from being banned from re-entering the country after their original sponsorship has been cancelled.

“We have studied the drawbacks of the ban and its adverse effects on the labour market. We have concluded that skilled and experienced workers should be exempted from the ban as long as they can serve the country with some other organisation,” said Brigadier Hadhir Khalaf Al Muhairi, director general of the General Directorate of Naturalisation and Residence.

The old rules, which were introduced three years ago stated that those who get their visas cancelled and a ban stamped on their passport are not issued a fresh entry visa or permit to re-enter the country unless they complete a six month ban.A recent study prepared by the directorate for the ministry, specified the drawbacks of the implementation of the ban.

The study, which included several suggestions for exemption of visa ban will be submitted by the ministry to the federal Cabinet for implementation once it is fully approved. Skilled engineers and construction staff will be among the exempted workers.

“These categories will be exempted. They can cancel their visas and will not be banned from re-entering the country as they represent experienced and specialised working categories, which the country will lose,” an official from the Ministry of the Interior said.

As well as being a positive move for skilled workers from around the region and the Subcontinent, the amended rules will also benefit local construction recruitment firms.

“This move is great for skilled workers because they can use their skills. It’s excellent for construction recruitment firms too because it will be easier to source skilled workers in India because they normally can’t travel for a year after being banned,” said Sohail Vakil, recruitment manager, Al Vakil Recruitment.

However, the exemption will be implemented according to a set of regulations aimed at preventing the manipulation of the rules by some workers, who may use it to stay in the UAE for longer periods and shift to as many jobs as they wish.

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