Expatriate workers with six-month visa ban in UAE get reprieve

Expatriate workers in the UAE who have received a six-month ban on leaving their jobs recently will be able to obtain new work permits from the beginning of the new year, a senior official has said.

The new work permit will be issued only if they have completed two years with their former employers, Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director-General at the Ministry of Labour, said.
Deemas told a local radio programme that these workers will be issued new work permits from January even if they have not served the full six-month ban.

"Expatriate workers who have completed two years with their employers can change jobs without serving the ban following the implementation of the new rules," Bin Deemas said.
He said sponsors cannot force employees to continue to work for them if the workers do not wish to do so.

"If workers have quit before the completion of two years then they will not be issued labour cards until the two-year period is over," he added.

The official, however, said that if a worker, who has already cancelled his residence visa, returns to the UAE on a visit visa, he will not get a work permit before the expiry of the two-year period.

Bin Deemas said the relationship between a sponsor and a worker will end with the expiry of the labour card, which is limited to two years.

"Skilled and unskilled workers who end their contracts legally will get a labour permit," Deemas said.

The Indian community in the UAE is estimated to be around 1.75 million-strong, making it the largest expatriate community in this country.

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