The top diplomats of migrant-sending countries including India has wholeheartedly welcomed the new era of recruitment, as they feel that UAE visa changes will ensure better labour rights and welfare. In a recent meeting chaired by Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Cabinet approved some major changes in the visa rules for employment.
These changes include scrapping the mandatory deposit of Dh3,000 for private sector employees, and replacing it with a low-cost insurance system costing only Dh60 annually per worker; the entry fees of transit passengers exempted for first 48 hours approved and can be further extended to 96 hours for a fee of Dh50; People or the illegal immigrants overstaying their visa will get a chance to voluntarily leave the country without a "no entry" stamp valid for 2 years on their passport; Individuals who wish to adjust or renew their visa can do it without having to leave and re-enter the country by paying a fee; introduction of a 6-month visa to job seekers who overstayed their visa but want to work in the UAE; Temporary visa for job opportunity seekers free of cost. (Currently, one has to find a new job within 3 months of termination or leave the country). These sweeping changes in its labour and visa rules aim to ensure the better protection of workers’ rights. Thus, UAE Cabinet has adopted this resolution on empowering 'People of Determination', enabling them to equal access the job market and will streamline the labour sector and ensure better protection of labour rights and welfare.
Indian workers are expected to be among the major beneficiaries of the measures. 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”.
The newly created scheme secures workers’ rights in the private sector and reduces the burdens on employers. It allows businesses to recover approximately Dh14 billion, representing the value of current guarantees paid by employers, which will enable them to further, invest in the development of their business. The system also enhances the ease of doing business in the UAE, which effectively contributes to market prosperity and growth. Several analysts also said the low-cost insurance policy which replaces the bank guarantees will cut costs for employers and offer greater protection to vulnerable low-income workers. The insurance policy will cover end of service benefits, holiday and overtime allowances, unpaid wages, return air ticket and cases of work injury, with the maximum pay out capped at Dh20,000 per person. The current system of bank guarantees doesn’t cover entitlements such as gratuity and holiday allowances. The new rules, however, won’t apply to domestic workers such as maids.