x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Top labour official to explain labour and NOC changes

A top labour official will take to the airwaves on Sunday to explain new measures intended to make it easier for expatriates to switch jobs.

ABU DHABI // A top labour official will take to the airwaves on Sunday to explain new measures intended to make it easier for expatriates to switch jobs.

Humaid bin Deemas, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour, will speak on Sharjah Radio at 1.30pm tomorrow to address major changes to the labour system.

The UAE announced new rules last week that will allow expatriates to change their jobs without being barred for months from working in the country.

From the new year, skilled and professional workers will no longer be required to obtain a no-objection certificate from a former employer in order to take up a new position.

Instead, they will need a visa stamp from the Ministry of Labour. Unskilled workers still need the certificates, but only for their first two years on the job.

Under the old system, employers could refuse to issue the certificates, effectively barring former employees from taking up new jobs.

The radio programme, called "On Time", will be aired in Arabic, and listeners can call in to direct questions to Mr Bin Deemas.

The changes to the sponsorship system were announced after Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Labour, pledged to reform it at a session in the Federal National Council.

The move is part of a concerted effort after the ministry was granted the authority to reform the system by a Cabinet resolution.

Under the sponsorship system, foreign workers have to have a local sponsor and businesses must have a local partner.

Mr Ghobash has repeatedly said the UAE would not abolish the system, which the country considers an expression of sovereignty, but said it would reform its negative elements.

"The UAE is determined to protect the rights and benefits of the labourers as well as their employers," he was quoted last week as saying on WAM, the state news agency, "particularly those concerned with international labour policies ... whilst preserving the sovereignty of the UAE over its territories."

 

kshaheen@thenational.ae