Sponsors warned against charging for residence visa

ABU DHABI - Sponsors are not allowed to charge their employees expenses required for residence visa procedures, warned a labour official.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 19 May 2004, 9:16 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:25 PM

"Forcing labourers to pay fees levied for the issuance of residence visa, health card and labour permit is an act that violates the labour laws and regulations set by the country," Ahmed Darwish Al Housani, Director of Labour Relations Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social yesterday, told Khaleej Times.

He clarified that as per the federal labour law No. 8 of 1980, sponsor should bear the expenses of residence visa, health card and the labour permit.

Mr Housani's comment came in response to a labour dispute case, which was lodged at the department by 16 Arab labourers complaining against their sponsor who asked them to pay the expenses of issuing their residence visa.

The labourers, who are working for a big industrial company that accommodates more than 40 Arab and Asian workers, is specialised in manufacturing garbage containers and pipes for garbage rooms at high-rise buildings, complained that the sponsor has taken Dh3,000 from them claiming that the money was to facilitate their recruitment procedures and promised to pay them back the money after they start working.

However, the sponsor later told the workers that he used the money to pay the expenses of their residence visa.

"This is against the labour regulations and laws. The ministry has summoned the sponsor and asked him to pay the labourers back the Dh3, 000," said Mr Housani.

He said the workers also complained about unpaid salary for nearly three months, in addition to poor and unhealthy accommodation conditions and part time benefits.

They also complained of maltreatment and lack of medical services and excessive deduction of salary, said Mr Housani.

He said the sponsor claimed that the workers went on strike causing great damages to his business and forcing him to hold back their dues.

"Seizing the labourers' salary, is illegal. Sponsors do not have the right to punish workers by stripping them of their dues even for one month," said Mr Housani. He said a team would be sent to inspect the company to detect how far it abides by environment and safety measures and standards.

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