Absconding workers: UAE labour ministry issues resolutions


Under the new resolutions No.389 and No.390, when a sponsor files an ‘absconding report’ at the Ministry of Labour during the amnesty period, the sponsor and the company will be exempted from the fines imposed for not applying or renewing the labour card. The ‘absconding report’ filed against a labourer can be cancelled with the employer’s approval and no ban or Dh10,000 fine will be imposed on the sponsor or the company. In such a case, the labour permit can be either cancelled or the labourer permitted to return to work for the employer.

If the labourer seeks cancellation of the ‘absconding report’, the ministry may approve of it without referring to the sponsor provided the report is proved to be ‘false’ or ‘malicious’.

Resolution No. 390 stipulates that workers seeking transfer of sponsorship under the amnesty will be exempted from the following conditions — a valid labour card and residency status, valid period required for transfer of sponsorship, no limit on the number of sponsorship transfers.

No fees will be levied on sponsors trying to transfer the sponsorship of workers without completing the minimum period of work requirement. Under the amnesty, all applications of transfer of sponsorships will also be exempted from fines for delay or non-renewal of labour cards.

The approval of the ministry on the applications of transfer of sponsorship for illegal workers is valid for 15 days, if the labour card has expired or its validity is less than 60 days. The validity of ministry approval shall be for 60 days in any other conditions. The ministry may transfer the sponsorship of any illegal worker without referring to the sponsoring company for approval, if it finds out through the Labour Inspection Department that the company has been shut down or does not exist or is ‘bogus’ (not registered with the Economic Department).

The directors of labour permit departments and labour offices shall deal with sponsorship transfer applications within their respective jurisdictions. This resolution will be in force until September 2, 2007.

Commenting on the resolutions, Humeid bin Demas, assistant undersecretary at MoL, said, “The resolutions were issued by Minister of Labour Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi to remove obstacles that could prevent illegal labourers from regularising their status. The exemptions are being given so that the labourer doesn’t have any excuse once the amnesty is over.”


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