Is it too early to rejoice?

IT SEEMS like bonanza time for the expats living in the UAE. Or is it? First came the four-hour mid-day break rule for the largely expat labour force, a blessing for the poor souls sweating it out in the scorching summer sun.

By Talk Of The Town

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Published: Thu 14 Jul 2005, 10:53 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:43 PM

Then came the report about the Cabinet seriously considering parity in wages between nationals and expats. Manna from heaven? And now we have this news about sponsorship transfer being extended to all categories. Too good to be true?

Coming in quick succession — all these decisions came within a span of a few days — these announcements have literally taken the breath away from the expats. The sceptics, however, are pessimistic about the actual implementation of all these rules, and they probably have reason to be so. The scepticism basically stems from the fact that the final say on issuing a "No Objection" to a switchover continues to rest with the employer. This, they say, does not make any difference to ground realities since merely including all categories under the "free-to-go" rule does not necessarily provide a level playing field.

On the other hand, the optimists, hopefully their numbers are higher in ratio, are quick to point out to the clampdown on violators of the very first of the decisions — the mid-day break rule. They would like to believe that change is there in the air.

If this is any indication to go by, it surely appears like happier days are here again. One only hopes these decisions, which can have far-reaching impact on the economy, positive of course, are not like the desert mirage. Keep the fingers crossed.

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