The labour ministry will in conjunction with the interior ministry “step up its ongoing campaign and impose stiff penalties on violators after November 3,” the official WAM news agency quoted Labour Minister Ali al-Kaabi as saying.
He singled out companies that employ illegal residents and those that do not apply the terms of contracts signed with workers as liable to prosecution.
The minister’s warning came on the eve of a deadline for illegal workers to leave the country, and followed a series of strikes by disgruntled migrant construction workers in defiance of a ban on public protests.
The UAE had given illegal workers a three-month amnesty ending September 3 to either regularise their situation or leave the country.
It then extended the grace period until November 3 for illegal residents seeking to leave but not for those who would have chosen to obtain a work permit.
The government said in September that nearly 279,000 illegal workers had taken advantage of the ammesty to either regularise their situation or decide to leave.
Kaabi said the labour and interior ministries would deploy a ”large number of inspectors” to track down violators.
An estimated 700,000 Asians, mostly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, work as construction workers in the UAE, where only 20 percent of the four million population are UAE citizens.
Kaabi’s remarks came at the end of a week in which labourers involved in the construction of the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Dubai, downed tools to demand better conditions.
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