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08 December 2023

Expat 'guarantee': New era in UAE job market begins today

By Staff

The UAE today [Sunday] began enforcing new labour rules allowing foreign workers to switch jobs without having to leave the country.

The new rules issued by the Ministry of Labour also force employers to send the job contract to their employees in their home country to see the job details before signing it and deciding whether to accept the work or not.

The ministry said the rules are intended to guarantee the rights of expatriate workers and their employers, curtail labour disputes and maintain discipline in the job market, one of the largest in the Arab world.

Under the new law, employers in the UAE must submit a draft two-year job contract to the Ministry of Labour and that it must contain all job details.

Employers must also "electronically sign" the contract  before sending it to the worker abroad to check it before signing it and accepting the offer.

The new terms, which the ministry said would ensure all rights of foreign workers, also stipulate that employers must then submit the job contract signed by him and the employee to the ministry to obtain a work permit.

“The employer must then pursue procedures for authenticating the job contract which must be signed by both the employer and the worker within 14 days from the worker’s entry into the UAE,” the ministry said.

Another landmark decision allows both parties to mutually end the job contract and the worker to switch to another job with a new employer in the UAE without having to leave. A third decision allows foreign workers to travel back home and obtain a new job contract with another UAE sponsor a year after departure.

Other measures enforced by the ministry cover expired work contracts and the need for the expatriate worker to sign a renewed contract.

“This will allow workers to express their will in extending the contract with all its terms and conditions or modifying those terms in line with a mutual agreement between the worker and the employer,” the ministry said.