Changes In Uae Workplaces
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a middle eastern federation comprising of seven states; Abu Dhado, Dubai, Rai al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Quwain and Fujairab. It has the 5th largest GDP per capita in the world. It has a rich economy fueled by availability of oil and natural gases as well as being a preferred destination of global investors. Its growth is rapid in terms of economy. This has influenced the labor market therefore bringing changes in the work places. New challenges and problems have arisen out of this rapid growth.
According to a labor Report of 2007, it provides summary of positive changes the UAE Ministry of labor and Social affairs have influenced in the workplace. These changes in turn, have influenced the realization of the set goals and objectives to enhance, broaden and manage laws and policies needed in providing a national wide labor rights. (ABQ Zawya ltd, 2008) The ministry has aimed at enhancing productivity and quality services in working places. In 2005, the authorities in the ministry, signed accreditation agreement with International Computer Driving License (ICDL). This reflects UAE commitment to adopt high standards in IT provision.
The ICDL is the standard from basic computer skills in the world. This step increased productivity and quality services in the work place (AME Info Fz IIC Ltd, 2008) In an attempt to help the workers, the UAE government has put a rule in place for workers to be paid by depositing their salary into their accounts and not to be paid cash. This is a step forward to ease financial communication of expatriates to their recipients back at home. This international bank to bank transfer was fueled by the International Association of Money Transfer Network (IAMTN Newsletter, 2008)
However, much change in the work place has been accomplished while attempting to balance the workforce in UAE. Its labor market has seen a lot of immigrants flooding it. This expatriate labor is large and culturally diverse. 90% of the UAE private sectors workforce is flooded by expatriates. The UAE’s labor ministry has introduced a job quota system to counter this as it has made some of its own citizens suffer unemployment. It targets 100% nationalization in government organizations. (UAE Media Council, 2008) Although part of its citizens have suffered unemployment, there still many career opportunities in the private sectors.
Its nationals prefer working in public sectors as the conditions there are favorable; easier working hours and better holidays. (gulfnews. com 2008) In an attempt to counter the expatriate problem, the UAE has set targets for these private sectors which they must meet. They have categorized the companies in ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories. ‘A’ represents those with 30% or less local employees, ‘B’ 31-74% and ‘C’ those with over 75%. Under those categories, they have adopted a data base on the local workforce in such sectors.
As well, they have designed official transaction fees to vary in terms of amount in reference to the category the sector lays in. Further in its attempt to ‘Emiratise’ the workforce, thousand of Public Relations Officers (PRO) has been replaced by own citizens. The ministry has even restricted sectors with over 100 employees to employ PROs of UAE nationality failure to which the government would not accept any transactions with the companies. The expatriates PRO cards validity period have been reduced from 3-1 year upon renewal. They are expected to have trained their counterparts for takeover in that one year.
The renewal fee has also been increased to Dhs. 2000/- which is four times higher than previously. Sponsorship transfer by worker in all categories has been restricted by the cabinet. They have put up some harsh conditions that workers must meet. Sponsorship transfer fee have been increased too. The labor ministry has been given full responsibility for such transfers. (Non Resident Keralites’ Affairs Department, 2008) The ministry has implemented a ban put in place for expatriates who violate immigration laws. If the expatriates’ councils their employment visas and leaves their jobs, a six months ban has been put in place.
For the law violators work permit is counseled or not issued. (Oxford Business Group, 2008) Visa acquisition have been regulated a ‘mission visa’ has been implemented for short term migrant workers and is renewable once. It is also expensive. For visas oriented to work in UAE, the acquisition cost is still high. (Oxford Business Group 2008) The ministry has a three firm’s scheme underway with an aim to regulate the workforce. One will be responsible for recruitment, the other one to construct a city for workers and the last one to maintain the city.
This effort is aimed at solving expatriate problem, solve loose of workers problem and solve abuse of workers rights. (Hindu Business Line, 2008) Strict insurance, deductions and health policies have been put with an aim to balance the work force. Crackdown on companies involved in visa racketing, illegal visa acquisition, illegal recruitment strategies is in place. (Non Resident Keralites Affairs Department, 2008) All these measures have brought changes in the work places; job loss, fairness in local workforce representation, more skilled labor and influence both positively and negatively on output.
The standard of living has increased in UAE and its becoming a less desirable for expatriate workers. Housing is expensive. This is leading to expert exodus thus giving room for nationalized workforce. (Times of Money ltd 2007) However, it is important in all the measures taken, to consider the legal framework in the international labor standards. The changes have been both positive and negative.
Non resident Keralites’ Affairs Department, (2008) Update on Changes in UAE Labor Law & other related developments. Retrieved on October 23, 2008 from http://www.norka. gov. in/labourlaw. htm ABQ Zawya Ltd, (2008) UAE Ministry of Labor releases labor report 2007 Retrieved on October 23, 2008 from http://www. zawya. com/story. cfm/sidWAM20080426100015964 AME Info FZ LLC / Emap Limited, (2008) UAE signs accreditation agreement with ICDL. Retrieved on October 23, 2008 from http://www. ameinfo. com/74557. html The Hindu Business Line, (2005) UAE labor ministry pulls up Construction Company for non-payment of salaries. Retrieved on October 23, 2008 from http://www. thehindubusinessline. com/2005/09/21/stories/2005092100760500. htm
The National Media Council (2008) UAE Ministry of Labor releases labor report 2007. Retrieved on October 23, 2008 from http://www. uaeinteract. com/docs/UAE_Ministry_of_Labour_releases_labour_rep ort_2007/29742. htm International associate of money transfer Network, (2008) UAE Satisfied with Remittance Laws. Retrieved on October 23, 2008 from www. iamtn. org/content/uae-satisfied-remittance-laws-changes-rule-workers’- payments-foreign-operators-eye-market Oxford Business Group (2008) The Report Abu Dhabi: Oxford Business Group Oxford Business Group (2007) The Report Abu Dhabi: Oxford