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‘UAE visa changes will ensure better labour rights and welfare’

Dubai: The sweeping changes in labour and visa rules announced by the UAE will streamline the labour sector and ensure better protection of labour rights and welfare, according to top diplomats of labour-sending countries.

Welcoming the decisions announced by the UAE Cabinet, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri said: “These will go a long way in easing the financial burden on Indian workers, professionals and entrepreneurs.

“They also demonstrate the pragmatic and progressive approach of the UAE’s leadership and their commitment towards strengthening the country’s competitive edge. That is why the UAE remains a preferred destination for Indian investors and workers alike.”

Sisira Senevirathne, charge d’affaires at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, termed the UAE’s decisions as “advanced steps towards workers’ welfare and recruitment procedures”.

He welcomed the concept of the insurance system, which will replace the bank guarantee for workers, though the details of its implementation have yet to be announced.

The new decisions taken by the UAE Cabinet are welcome changes to make the UAE more worker-friendly, economically competitive and a tourist hub, said Asma Ali, community welfare attaché at the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai.

She pointed out that the revolutionary changes are announced “at the best moment to secure workers’ rights before Expo 2020”.

“We really appreciate the much-awaited changes related to the waiver of the overstay fines and no entry bans that will enable to legalise enormous numbers of Pakistani workers and their families.”

Senevirathne pointed out that the workers’ issues covered under the new compulsory insurance are the key issues that missions generally have to deal with.

“This will be quite helpful for everyone. [The number of] labour disputes will go down. The missions will also benefit in terms of clearing some issues fast.”

With the insurance scheme, Ali said, overtime benefits and end-of-service claims would now be secured easily. “That’s another landmark achievement here.”

She pointed out that the abolition of bank guarantees and provision of re-entry will enhance the number of Pakistani labourers in the UAE market.

“This marks the start of a new era of labour recruitment.”

Diplomatic missions of labour-sending countries would be gearing up to facilitate the implementation of the overstay rules coming into effect from August.

With the lenient approach of the new rules, Ali said, the burden on the missions would be less.

“If there are no fines, all we have to manage is the provision of air tickets to facilitate legalisation of workers. At our end, most of the workers and their families face these fines and ban issues. So it will ease out all those problems.”

Further, she noted, this will ensure the release of all those prisoners who have been detained and who face fines only on the charge of overstay.

“Equal access to job market for people of determination is a remarkable decision to empower them,” Senevirathne added.

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