Illegal workers can leave without getting banned.
Illegal workers can leave the country without getting banned and they can re-enter the country for employment, the under-secretary of the Ministry of Labour (MoL), Hameed bin Demas, yesterday said.
This was decided at a meeting of the joint committee formed by the under-secretaries of the ministries of Labour and Interior.
The meeting, held at the Ministry of Interior in the capital, was attended by the under-secretaries of the MoL and Ministry of Interior (MoI), and directors of naturalisation and residency departments in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The officials discussed the mechanism to facilitate the formalities of the amnesty scheme announced by the government.
Talking to Khaleej Times, Bin Demas said the three-month amnesty period was a golden chance for both employers and illegal labourers. “The grace period will also help the employers to regularise their status and to close the files that were opened in the MoL for recruiting illegal workers,” he said. The ministries of Labour and Interior also discussed coordination on forming the bylaw to implement the amnesty.
The mutual committee has classified the illegal labourers into three categories.
The first category is of workers who stayed in the country without work or were recruited by other firms. “We consider this class of labourers as ‘illegals’. Workers holding expired labour cards have the right to cancel their visas and leave the country without a ban. The MoL will waive off all the fines on the expired labour cards,” bin Demas said. Workers whose cards have not expired have two choices: cancel the labour card and leave the country; or transfer the sponsorship to another employer after paying the transfer fees. However, the illegal workers will have to pay for their air tickets.
The committee has, however, decided to give an exception to the workers who want to transfer their sponsorship. “The MoL will waive off the fees (Dh500 per month) to be paid by the worker for the remaining months of the year if he did not complete the first year with the company. The fine on the expired labour card will also be dropped,” he added. However, the illegal workers can re-enter the country, even during the six months period, after being deported, after paying the fees of sponsorship transfer.
The second class of the illegals is that of workers who have run away from their employers. “This category of workers will face life-ban on entering the country. The only one chance they have to re-enter the country, is if their current sponsor gives them the permission letter to work for another company,” explained bin Demas.
However, this class of illegals has the right to cancel its work permits and leave the country or transfer the sponsorship in case the current sponsor agrees to the transfer.
Only 6 months
The third category is of workers who have cases going on in the court. These workers have the right to stay in the country just for six months to follow up their cases. “However, we’ll not allow any worker to stay on without work in the country for more than six months illegally in order to follow a case at court,” said bin Demas.
He added that this class of illegals could entrust the matter to a lawyer or another worker to follow the case.
This category of illegal workers have the right to cancel their visas or to transfer their sponsorship to another sponsor.
The official further added that government would not allow any sponsor to violate the laws and the violating employers would face a Dh100,000 fine in addition to two months in prison.
Employers providing shelter to illegal workers would be slapped a Dh50,000 fine in addition to a month in prison.