14-day deadline set for approval of labour contract in UAE
Starting January 1, 2016, employers are bound to present approved labour contracts within two weeks of workers arriving in the country to join for work.
During a meeting held in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, which was attended by 300 employers and government representatives, Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, said: “Employers face a 14-day deadline to complete signature procedures following the workers’ entry into the UAE. If the worker complains of any delays, then the ministry allows him to search for a new offer.”
“The new measures implement three new decrees issued by Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash recently with regard to regulating the labour market,” he added.
The ministry has also relaxed its rule regarding the mandatory medical report to be submitted with a job contract.
After the new laws come into effect in the new year, the ministry will not issue new work permits to overseas workers or renew current residents’ work permits if the employer does not present a unified signed contract. It will accept contracts which would be signed electronically by both parties regardless of the location of the workers or contracts with fingerprints, in specific cases.
Referring to the renewal of contracts, Al Suwaidi said that the signature grants workers free will to renew the contract or simply choose to end the relation and find a better offer or move back home.
This, Al Suwaidi said, would end misunderstanding between both parties.
The move has been welcomed by companies and employees alike.
Three stages for hiring
The new procedures of recruiting foreign workers from outside the country for a two-year work visa will be in three stages.
Firstly, the employer applies for quota regardless of the number of workers recruited, the second demands handing over a printed offer letter containing a comprehensive description of their rights, duties, terms and conditions, through Tas’heel service centres or through the ‘MoLApp’ smartphone application.
“Secondly, employers should electronically sign a job offer, send it to the worker regardless of their location,” Al Suwaidi said.
The job offer should then be either signed or fingerprinted as required.
The offer will be in both Arabic and English in addition to a third language that the worker understands, which can be available on the ministry’s website.
“Each worker can review their work contract through the ministry’s website after registering on it using their passport number, nationality and their transaction number as each has its own code,” Al Suwaidi said.
During the work permit extraction stage, employers attach the signed offer letter by the worker for the initial approval.
The ministry then works on reviewing the application to make sure it meets all the requirements and then issues the permit, which allows the worker to come work in the country under a work permit.
Al Suwaidi also said that the electronic system will not allow new job offers for workers during the initial approval stages and replacing work permits will be treated according to specific procedures under issuing new work permit measurements.
“It’s not mandatory to include medical report with job offers, especially that today we are electronic linked with the Residency and Foreigners Affairs, which does not issue workers a residence visa with medical report,” he added.