Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Labour ban still making life tough for workers seeking to change jobs in UAE

Ministry consultant says new rules apply to companies that have closed down or no longer exist
Dubai: Workers have complained that the Ministry of Labour is still asking for approval from sponsors if workers wish to change jobs after two years.

Affected workers pointed to the ministry's earlier reforms to the labour law which did away with the need for a sponsor's approval for employees who have been with their sponsors for two continuous years. The workers complained that they were being slapped with one-year ban for failing to secure such approval.

The labour rules, which were implemented early this year by the Ministry of Labour, allow workers to switch jobs at the end of their employment contracts without the need for a no-objection certificate.

However, Hussain Hussain, a legal consultant at the Ministry of Labour clarified the new rules and said expatriate workers would still receive a one-year ban if they failed to get their sponsor's consent before changing employment.

"No one is allowed to switch jobs even if they complete many years in their [current job], without the consent of their sponsor," Hussain said.

He also said the new law allows workers to change employment in cases such as when the company employing them has closed down and no longer exists.

"But those workers will be given one-year ban if they do not file a complaint at the Ministry in less than two months after the [closure] of their company."

Ahmad Tajul Deen an Indian, employed in Dubai said he been with the same company for six years before the manager fled the country.
"My colleagues and I went to complain at the ministry after we lost hope that the manager would come back," he said.
"That happened three months [after the manager] left the country. The ministry stamped a one-year ban on each worker in the company."
Ameer, an Afghani PRO for a company in Sharjah, said that he went to apply for a visa for a new employee for his company.
Proof of cancellation

"I was told that the approval of the previous employer is required and the previous employer should show at the ministry that the visa has been cancelled, otherwise a one-year ban will be [slapped on] the worker," he said.

He said the ministry had not changed any rules and added that workers still needed approval of the sponsor to change jobs.

    January 1, 2011: New rules allow expatriate workers to seek new employment without a no-objection certificate
    The worker should have served out a two-year contract with the company.
    A worker with an expired contract can obtain a new work permit and shift to another employer without the passing of the six-month period and consent of his sponsor.
    The resolution says new employment permit will only be granted to the worker after the end of his work relationship amicably with his employer.