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New UAE Labour Law: No employee consent, no visa

By Shuchita Kapur

A senior official at the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has stated the ministry will not approve any request to obtain a new work permit without a worker’s consent to the job offer.

Besides this, the clauses in the work permit must match the clauses of the labour contract that the worker signs upon arrival to the country to obtain a work permit.

The new law, which came into force in January this year, includes three main rules governing labour contracts for workers from abroad, terminating contracts between the employers and workers and the issuance of a new work permit to a resident worker.

Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, noted that professionals and skilled workers must sign the contract while those applying for partially skilled or unskilled workers must have the employee’s thumbprint on the job offer letters.

“All permits are based on a transparent relation between employers and workers, following the newly launched decrees by Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation earlier this year,” said Al Suwaidi.

Employers must provide the job offer and conditions containing a comprehensive description of rights and duties between both parties, he highlighted.

The Ministry, he said, has approved 11 languages in which job offers, labour contracts and other conditions may be printed, and that must be handed to workers aside from Arabic and English so that there are no contradictions.

“New permits issuance approval shall be granted following the confirmation of the establishment’s commitment towards labour laws, decisions and requirements stipulated in terms of applying for ‘quota’.

“The establishment must print job offers that contain a comprehensive description of labour rights and obligations between both parties through Tas’heel service centres. If the establishment was registered in the ministry’s system, then hand in the offers to workers for signature from first, second and third level professions or otherwise require a thumbprint for those occupying fourth and fifth levels,” Al Suwaidi explained.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced yesterday that it has issued more than 252,000 new work permits since the beginning of the current year.

According to the employment classification adopted by the Ministry, first category of employment includes specialised occupations, which require a high degree of scientific, technical, and executive skills and a university degree at a minimum.

Second category employment includes technical occupations that require the availability of “cognitive, scientific and technical” abilities; practical and supervisory skills with a 2-3 years degree from an institute post high-school.

The third category of employment requires practical and technical skills that cover the entire scope of the job, and a high-school degree.

The fourth category of employment includes occupations that require the availability of practical and technical skills that cover part of the job and in this category, individuals need to be prepared and trained for two years on average.

The fifth category of employment is considered a limited skills category, and includes occupations that require the availability of practical and technical skills related to a small part of the job and can be acquired during training in less than a year.

All these rules also apply to workers residing in the country. A signature/thumbprint on the job offer letter is required prior to obtaining a new work permit.