UAE introduces new decrees for contract renewal, work permits

The new rules require workers to physically sign work permits as well contracts for renewal

The United Arab Emirates has introduced new procedures to renew employment permits and expired contracts in a bid to make the process more transparent for workers.

From the beginning of 2016, the new decrees will require the “clear signature” of employees for contract renewal and the issuing of new work permits, official news agency WAM quoted assistant under-secretary for Labour Affairs Humaid Bin Deemas Al Suwaidi as saying.

The new rules will put an end to the current work permit renewal procedures which simply follow a notification from employers.

“Workers, under the new procedures, will enjoy better options of either accepting renewal of the contract according to marked privileges and stipulated requirements in the new contract, or amend these privileges and conditions upon agreement by both parties, which actively contributes to promoting a strong working relationship,” he said.

“It will also enable employees to completely end the relationship, search for alternatives, or return back home.”

The new decrees will also end labour disputes caused by “unjust labour contract submissions” made by employers without referring to the labourers, he added.

The labour ministry conducted a study examining the hiring processes in private enterprises, and has now called for employers to issue a contract in the preferred language of labourers prior to their signature.

This will help “overcome any difficulties that both ends may encounter through several employment channels, including employment agencies or by dispatching company representatives to the targeted country or even through employment websites,” Al Suwaidi explained.

The new regulations will enable the worker to review an offer before travelling abroad and then signing the new unified contract with the employer upon entry. After this a contractual relationship is recorded into the ministry’s database highlighting all rights and obligations as per the contract.

Workers already in the UAE must also sign the offer before the employer applies for tentative approval to employ them, the report said.

The UAE’s minister of Labour Saqr Bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash said that the decrees come within the framework of developing legislation to regulate the labour market.

He said the ministry is moving to a “new phase based on establishing and promoting a balanced and productive business relationship between both sides, based on transparency.”