Labour ministry declares war against visa racketeers

DUBAI — As part of all-out efforts to stamp out visa malpractice, which has become rampant in the country, the Ministry of Labour has resolved to come down heavily on both erring employers and employees.

By (By a staff reporter)

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Published: Fri 21 Jul 2006, 11:40 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:16 PM

The move was aimed at creating a healthy atmosphere in the labour market, the ministry announced, taking note that the value of bogus residence visas in the local labour market had shot up from Dh8,000 to Dh10,000.

Unscrupulous companies trading in such residence visas had jacked up the price to exploit the increase in number of daily wage earners, it was stated. The workers, being paid only Dh10 earlier, were attracted following the revision of wages to Dh15.

Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi, Minister of Labour, said the ministry had embarked on a course of strict penalties to combat the menace of fictitious residence visas. The strict new rules would apply to both parties to the fictitious agreement, he said.

Elaborating, Al Ka'abi said the errant employee would get his visa cancelled and be deported. The establishment at fault would be slapped with a fine of Dh10,000 for breaching the Labour Law and its file would be referred to the public prosecution for legal action, he added.

The first company to get on the wrong side of the new regulations was the Abu Dhabi-based Al Kabi Establishment, Al Ka'abi divulged.

The action came after Mohammed N., an Arab expatriate, lodged a complaint with the ministry requesting that his official documents, labour card and employment contract be recovered from the firm. Mohammed also sought the right to be allowed to work stating that the company had only issued him a residence visa but not featured him on its payroll.

The ministry had struck upon certain employers who claimed to have issued labour permits and residence visas to expatriate workers on "humanitarian grounds", Dr Ka'abi revealed. Such excuses were categorically unacceptable to the government, which was not to be mistaken for a social welfare body, he said.

Those wanting to help others in a sorry state were welcome to do so but such acts didn't mean that the ministry would bypass the law and procedures pertaining to sponsorship, he asserted. When such clandestine applications were rejected, employers pursuing such documents would be held accountable, he clarified.

Dr Al Ka'abi said bogus residence visas amounted to forgery and fraud. Such sponsors gave the ministry the wrong impression that a legal relationship existed between him and the employee, he pointed out.

Those exploiting visa procedures brought in expatriate workers to the UAE solely with the intent of employing them and their actions in no way correlated with the residence visa stipulation that allowed one to live in the country without doing any work, he noted.

If such malpractices continued, the ministry would publish names of companies flouting the law in newspapers so as to deter such violations, he said. The ministry would also not hesitate to initiate legal actions against such offenders, he added.

In the context of the Al Kabi Construction Establishment and its Arab employee, the ministry had discovered that the residence visa issued to the complainant had been issued on the basis of marital relationships existing between the two sides, sources at the ministry said.

The Labour Relations Department had summoned the employer, who failed to turn up. Instead, the director general of the company had responded to the notice and admitted that he had only followed the instructions of the owner, the sources added.

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