x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Residency visas to be shortened to two years

Labour cards for expats are to be valid for two years instead of three from the beginning of next month under new laws announced by the Ministry of Labour.

DUBAI // Labour cards are to be valid for two years instead of three, shortening the time for which an employee is obliged to remain with one employer, the Ministry of Labour announced yesterday.

The decision will allow more flexibility for workers and will apply to all expatriate employees in the private sector. It comes as part of a new set of rules issued recently by the ministry to better organise the labour market.

The new cards will start being issued at the beginning of next year, the ministry said. "[The decision] will have a positive impact on the labour market as it will create more flexibility in the employer-employee relationship, and will allow both parties to this relationship a shorter time," Humaid bin Deemas, the assistant undersecretary for labour affairs at the Ministry of Labour, said in a statement issued by WAM, the state news agency.

Mr bin Deemas said that the decision to shorten the period of the labour card would increase competitiveness in recruitment, and attract a more flexible labour force that could move more freely, creating an environment that should attract international investment.

Talks are being held by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Interior to discuss any necessary changes to the duration of the three-year residency visa to bring it in line with the new labour card.

wissa@thenational.ae