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Wed 13 May 2009 01:52 AM

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UAE to maintain worker sponsorship arrangements

No plans to follow Bahrain's decision to scrap existing system for expat workers.

A senior official at the Ministry of Labour has confirmed that the UAE has no plans to scrap the existing sponsorship system for expatriate workers, unlike Bahrain.Instead, the authorities see the adjustment of existing labour laws to accommodate employees who’ve been made redundant but want to stay in the country and look for work, as the major priority, according to a report in The National newspaper.

The draft legislation to do this proposes a visa extension for those made redundant for more than the current one month. This measure has been submitted to the Cabinet but has yet to be passed, the newspaper reported.

Bahrain said on May 5 it would scrap its existing sponsorship system for foreign workers in the hope of reducing its need for expatriate labour.

Under the new regulations, foreign workers will be directly sponsored by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) - the changes set to come in from August.

A senior official involved with policy creation at the Ministry of Labour in Abu Dhabi and referring to Bahrain’s recent initiative said: ''If it is good in Bahrain it does not mean it would be good for us.''

Ministry of Labour sources at the offices in Dubai told the newspaper that there had been no dialogue with their Bahraini counterparts since the announcement.

They indicated that contacts between GCC countries regarding labour issues focused on the flow of workers from country to country - not issues affecting internal labour markets, the paper added.

''Ongoing discussions such as improving the flow of Arab workers within Arab states were discussed at last month’s Arab Labour Forum in Jordan'' said one official in Dubai, adding that they were continuing with other Arab ministries.

Under the existing sponsorship regime an expatriate cannot change jobs without permission from his or her sponsor.

Mohammad Osman 10 years ago

This is really a very disappointing announcement from UAE Government. The UAE was the leading player of development and modernization of the Gulf not only in terms of infrastructure development, but, also in terms foreigner-business partnership and gained a good reputation. It looks that, UAE will go back to its Arab-Mentality of ownership and control. I hope the government will change its position towards liberalizing the human manpower in their country and adapt what is going on in the international arena of labormanship laws and human dignity. Lets hope to see a better view for UAE towards the humans regardless of their race and nationality

ajoy 10 years ago

Despite having very less area, zero oilfield, if Baharain can take the initiative of nullifying the visa sponsership, I wonder what is the problem with UAE. I think authorities are thinking that people are dying to come to Dubai...This was true earlier but with with present scenario, peple are willing to come but very much scared to make this country as a second home following Govt. reluctancy towards its policies. They must rectify and take lesson from Baharain to uplift the image of UAE as a leader even after being an Islamic estate which Baharain is doing now, certainly leading in all aspects. One can not bind the people and superimpose unpopular rules especially if there was a desire to be a world name .This is the high time to bring back the faith, economy and job security among the expats so that this UAE could again boast their tradition of their hospitalty and there by making their country a cinesure.

JADed 10 years ago

It takes a lot of money and more importantly a lot of training for SMB firms who hire new staff. It's not fair for them if staff leave once they are trained and groomed for the GCC market. Most small private business do not have the ability to pay what the semi-government pays. On the other side, If this law comes into place, new employees will be less becuase SMB are the main persons who bring new hires, becuase they cannot afford local recuritment. So persons will have to be hired from the local market at market rates, then of course the service rates will go up. Costs are up and end-users will end up paying more. Pure economics.