x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Tiered labour card fees system postponed

Companies with more diverse workforces will pay less under new rules.

ABU DHABI // The introduction of a tiered system of labour card fees has been postponed for six months.

The Ministry of Labour announced at the end of last year that companies were to be classified according to the diversity of nationalities they employ.

Under the new system, companies employing more nationalities would pay less for labour cards, with the cheapest rate available only to those filling more than 15 per cent of their skilled jobs with Emiratis.

The ministry had planned for the system to be in place by this month, but has now delayed its introduction until January 2012 to allow firms more time to balance their workforces.

Companies had previously expressed concern the system would lead to steep increases in their costs.

Under the new rules, companies in which skilled jobs - those requiring a university degree - account for 20 per cent of the workforce will pay Dh300 for a foreign worker's labour card if at least 15 per cent of those skilled positions are held by Emiratis.

Companies that miss the 15 per cent target will pay between Dh600 and Dh2,000 for labour cards, depending on the diversity of their workforce.

The Dh600 rate will apply to firms where no single nationality accounts for more than a quarter of the workforce.

Companies with more than a quarter, but less than half, of their staff drawn from one nationality will pay Dh1,500, while those with more than half will pay Dh2,000.

Companies that fail to pay wages on time or break other labour laws will be fined Dh5,000 and may also be issued black points.

The points will be cleared annually, or after six months in response to changes in a company's employment make-up.

osalem@thenational.ae