Citizenship proposed for skilled expatriates

ABU DHABI - The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi has proposed granting UAE citizenship to expatriates of high calibre and highly skilled professionals who could be key contributors to national development.

By Nada S.mussallam

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Published: Sun 28 Aug 2005, 12:01 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:29 PM

Responding to a question on why fees imposed on least-educated expat employees for sponsorship transfer is high, he said that the new sponsorship transfer system aims to rid the country of informal economy and ensure that highly skilled cadres are retained.

'We are targeting qualified cadres. We are eventually keen on providing them with a suitable atmosphere in the local labour market in a way that would enhance the economy,' said Dr Kaabi.

Under the new system, less skilled employees have to pay a fees of Dh5000 and must complete three years in service to have their sponsorship transferred. It is permissible by law for this category to transfer their visa only once in their lifetime.

Meanwhile, the law stipulates that masters and doctorate holders can transfer sponsorship after one year of continuous service. A Dh1500 fee is levied on expats in this category.

The minister said the main objective of the sponsorship system was to ensure retention of qualified expat labour force, lessen restrictions on movement of human capital in the local labour market and curb violations of rules.

According to recent statistics released by Dr Khalid Mohammed Al Khazraji, Under-Secretary of the Labour Ministry, informal economy in the country accounts for around 60 per cent of the total expat labour force.

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