With effect from 1st January, 2016, UAE has announced labour reforms to further empower foreign workers and provide additional protection of their rights.
In a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Emirati Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash told that UAE wants to close the door on those who deceive the simple worker.
The new measures will also allow foreign workers to terminate their contract and change employer which will help in removing malpractices linked with a sponsorship system called “kafala”, according to which, permission from employers is required to change jobs and Kafala also regulates entry and residence. Ghobash said that all the practices associated with kafala would be stopped after the enforcement of reforms.
He further said that workers would be under contract of Labour Ministry rather than employers under the new system, which will help eradicating “involuntary labour”. Currently employment contracts are kept with the employer directly however under the new proposal all employment contracts will be registered with the Ministry of Labour.
With all employment contracts regulated by the Ministry of Labour the practice of “substitution” under which foreign workers are bound to renegotiate lesser salaries when they arrive in the Gulf because of signing a contract before leaving their home country will also be eradicated.
A UAE researcher at Human Rights Watch, Nicholas McGeehan, appreciated this move of UAE Government and termed this “a huge improvement” which should be supported and applauded.