New UAE labour recruitment laws by end of Jan

Ministry of Labour clamps down on errant employment agencies

The new laws come in to effect at the end on Jan 2011.
The new laws come in to effect at the end on Jan 2011.

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The Ministry of Labour is to crack down on errant employment agencies with a raft of new regulations set to take effect at the end of the month.

The rules, ordered by Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash, are designed to guard workers’ rights and intended to “reduce certain malpractices that may occur as a result of recruitment operations,” according to a statement issued on the government’s newswire.

The statement also said that the new rules , “stipulated a set of guarantees and commitments from the Agencies including transparency during the entire process of employment beginning from the phase of recruiting from the worker's country of origin until the operations of the firm in which he will work.”

Recruitment agencies will be held partly liable for unpaid wages, and will be required to stump up a AED1m guarantee as part of the new regulations, while agencies will also have to set aside AED2,000 per worker.

The deposits apply to employment agencies who supply workers to a third party, and will be used to compensate workers who are not paid by their employer.

The rules also lift a ban on new recruitment agencies starting up – and all agencies will have to comply with the new rules by the end of January.

The minister emphasised that the new rules also regulates the entire process of contractual work beginning from the labour supplying country until the labour receiving country.

"We seek, through cooperation with our partners in the labour market to deepen the reliance on agencies and recruiters to fill the jobs in firms", the minister said.

Key new rules include:
• Recruitment agencies must pay a AED1m guarantee if the agency is to outsource workers and AED300,000 for agencies serving as brokers. These guarantees can be tapped if the agency fails to meet its obligations.
• Agencies that provide labour outsourcing services are jointly responsible should salaries not be paid by the employer.
• Agencies must be owned by Emiratis with no history of non-payment.
• Agencies cannot supply labourers for companies involved in collective labour disputes.
• Agencies cannot collect fees from workers, whether in the UAE or abroad.

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