ABU DHABI // The number of absconding workers has more than halved this year compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Labour says.
The ministry has received 10,066 reports for the first nine months of this year, compared with 21,042 for the same period last year, the ministry said yesterday.
The decrease has been steady since 2006, says Humaid Al Suweidi, the ministry's assistant undersecretary for labour affairs.
"We are expecting the number of reports of absconding workers to reach up to 15,000 by the end of the year, based on figures from the previous months," Mr Al Suweidi said.
The workers had been hired by private companies that are registered with the ministry.
In 2006, private companies hired 2.56 million workers, filing 60,000 reports of absconding workers, defined as those who do not report for work for seven consecutive days without a valid reason.
The trend peaked in 2006, according to Mr Al Suweidi, leading the ministry to impose a set of procedures to report and deal with the problem, including a Dh3,000 bank security deposit to be paid by the company filing the report and specifying sanctions against the worker.
Absconding workers are denied the right to work for a year but if the relationship with the company has been severed, they may risk being banned completely from working in the UAE.