Home / UAE Ministry simplifies movement of labourers

UAE Ministry simplifies movement of labourers

The Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs has introduced a new procedure that replaces the sponsorship transfer of a worker changing jobs from one company to another owned by the same sponsor.

The Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs has introduced a new procedure that replaces the sponsorship transfer of a worker changing jobs from one company to another owned by the same sponsor. From now, a worker’s secondment can be completed with only the transfer of his labour card and not his visa, according to an official at the ministry.

The new procedure called the Transfer of a Worker’s Labour Card or simply the amendement of the labour card information, was discussed and approved by the Higher Labour Committee Chaired by Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mattar Humaid Al Tayer, at its meeting late last week, said Eisa Saleh, Head of Legal Affairs Department and rapporteur of the committee.

Mr Saleh told Khaleej Times that the move is a measure towards simplifying procedures. It applies only to the employees transferring from an establishment to another sponsored by the same employer.

“The practice required a sponsor owning more than one companies to apply for sponsorship transfer for his employee if he is shifting to another company within the same emirate or in another emirate, thus having to incur the expenses of visa transfer, and had to go through the process of changing the visa from one company to another.”

With the implementation of the new procedure, the sponsor has to only apply for changing the employee’s labour card from one company to another he owns,” Mr Saleh said, observing that the employee should be changing to a job similar to the one he performed at the previous company or of the same nature.

The other subjects discussed by the committee included the obstacles facing the implementation of the Small Craft Activities Law and its By-laws which was issued in 1995 but has not been activated or enforced up to date. “The committee reviewed the by-laws and discussed the difficulties of implementation. It was decided to approach the other departments concerned with licensing activities including the economic departments and municipalities to determine the true causes of non-implementation of the law, as well as preparing a report on the difficulties of implementation by ministry,” Saleh said.

Elaborating on the main reasons for not practically enforcing the federal law, he said that a number of licence owners tried to turn around the law which fixes the number of employees sponsored by a craft business by five only, by amending the activities in their licences and including activities that are not classified as one of the 68 craft activities listed in the by-laws.

“Another common practice was adding to the craft activity in a licence the other activities that will allow the owner of the business to recruit more workers,” Mr Saleh said, disclosing that the departments concerned had not issued a single trade licence for a craft activity since the law was issued almost nine years ago.

Establishments practising handicraft activities were supposed to comply with the law and legalise their status in accordance with it during a certain grace period “but none of them has approached the ministry to make the required changes,” he added.

The committee also decided at its meeting to postpone the issuance of a ministerial order amending the regulations concerning the collective visa employment permits. Under the proposed order, the minimum number of employees in a group visa application will be raised from 25 to 50. The ministry is also thinking of fixing a minimum budget for a project that justifies a company’s request for recruiting foreign workers in bulk.

“The proposed order needed further study and consultation. The committee preferred to postpone its issuance till the ministry is ready with the new computer system that will ensure the smooth implementation of the new regulations, and until it drafts the mechanism and prepare the software for following up and controlling the workers brought for a specific project.” Mr Saleh said.

He said that the control and follow-up software would provide the ministry with detailed information on the project for which the groups of workers were recruited, its cost, its duration, and its exact location as well as the number of workers working on it.

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