UAE’s ministry of labour has collected fines worth Dhs 37.5m during a grace period that was provided to firms to settle their labour card dues, state news agency WAM reported.
In December last year, the ministry announced a six-month extension in the grace period provided to firms to settle their labour card fines.
The amnesty, which ran from January till June this year, gave firms a chance to settle fines by paying just Dhs 1,000 per labour card regardless of the fine accrued till date.
The ministry said that 27,962 companies have resettled fines relating to 58,365 workers registered under their sponsorships during the grace period.
“All enterprises that benefited from the grace period, achieved financial savings worth Dhs 1bn and Dhs 812.5m by just paying Dhs 37.5m,” said the assistant under-secretary of the ministry’s Labour Affairs Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi.
“Enterprises that have benefited from the deadline amounted to about 70 per cent of the total number of establishments in UAE, of which more than 61 per cent of their workers have resettled labour card fines.”
He added that nearly 44,000 labour cards have been eliminated while 13,221 were renewed after the amnesty.
Post the amnesty, Al Suwaidi said that the ministry now has a list of firms that did not settle their labour fines and the defaulting firms that will be kept under the authorities radar.
He said that the ministry will also take action against fake facilities, penalising them if they close operations without cancelling labour cards.
“They will be slapped a Dhs 50,000 fine per worker if the owner shuts down the facility without settling his employees’ rights and cancel their labour cards,” said Al Suwaidi.
Labour authorities will also stop granting such faulty facilities any work permits, he said.
Al Suwaidi urged all defaulting firms to complete their resettlement process by paying the fines or cancel labour cards belonging to workers residing abroad or report workers who are missing.
He added that firms that have raked up labour fines worth Dhs 4,000 prior to the amnesty will be penalised with Dhs 1,000 every month.
“So by January 2016, those companies will face a Dhs 10,000 fine per card if they did not respond, while labour card fines which have been issued during this year will increase by Dhs 500 each month.”