Trust to lock loopholes in laws

WHEN the government appoints officials in certain sensitive positions and gives them authority to take the proper action in particular situations, it means that these people are trustworthy, and their decisions are respected by all government institutions. However, this is not always the case with the labour inspectors in the Ministry of Labour. The tasks of labour inspectors include, but are not restricted to, apprehending violators of the country’s labour regulations and its Entry and Residency Law. In order to be able to do their job in helping stabilise the labour market and ridding it of the illegal manpower, those inspectors had been given legal powers to arrest violators.


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Published: Sun 5 Mar 2006, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:26 PM

Their job is very sensitive and involves the security of the UAE. Therefore, it is a pre-requisite for any labour inspector to swear in before the Minister of Labour. When the inspectors arrest a violator, they provide details in their reports about the circumstances and reasons for the arrest, while recommending proper action such as deportation of the person in question and fining of the company that employs him/her illegally. However, in recent times, as reported in the local media, the reports of these public servants have become insufficient.

One recent case was the arrest of a cleaning boy in a company found to have entered on a businessman’s visit visa, but he ended up staying illegally for two years, performing a profession that had nothing to do with business. The three inspectors who apprehended the man on one of their routine inspection tours, referred his file to the Naturalisation and Residency Department in the host emirate. Thinking that their job had ended here, the inspectors were surprised when they were summoned to appear before the residency and naturalisation prosecutor for questioning on the issue. The action was an indicator that their word was not reliable as it raised questions about their neutrality, efficiency and integrity.

On the one hand, the prosecutor, facing an accused who denies the charges, wanted to base his decision on fair grounds, but on the other hand, this undermines the powers and functions of labour inspectors. More trust and coordination between government bodies is paramount to plug the loopholes violators benefit from.

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