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Clash of minimum wages affects hiring of Indians in UAE

/Dubai
Filed on February 14, 2016 | Last updated on February 14, 2016 at 07.49 am
Clash of minimum wages affects hiring of Indians in UAE
Many UAE employers are approaching the Indian government to hire Indian workers with wages far lower than what is fixed by the latter on its recruitment portal. - File photo for illustrative purpose

300 applications rejected after UAE employers offer low salaries.

A clash between minimum wages stipulated by the Indian government and those prevailing in the UAE labour market is resulting in rejection of applications by some UAE employers trying to recruit Indian workers, Khaleej Times has learnt.

As per the new UAE labour law, it is mandatory for employers to get employment contracts signed by overseas employees before applying for a work permit. The UAE has not stipulated any mandatory minimum wage for skilled labourers and pegs it to the fluctuating situations in the market.

Allegedly taking advantage of these scenarios, many UAE employers are now approaching the Indian government to hire blue-collar Indian workers with wages far lower than what is fixed by the latter on its recruitment portal.

"These companies or employers are sending employment contracts with very low wages and getting them signed by employees in India. Since that contract gets approved by the labour ministry here, they think it will be approved by the Indian government's recruitment system, as well," a source explained.

However, the eMigrate online system by the Indian government does not accept applications for recruiting Indian workers if the salaries submitted by employers do not match with the minimum wages stipulated on the website.

The eMigrate system in the UAE has registered over 11,000 companies recruiting Indian workers here. After the initial hiccups, it also enlisted over 400 job categories for skilled workers coming to the UAE as per the local system and has also given the minimum wages ranging from Dh800 to Dh2000.

The minimum wages have been purposefully listed in a drop-down list on the eMigrate site to avoid employers manipulating the figures by specifying the salaries as per their wish.

The application gets automatically rejected when the salary specified in it does not match what is given against the particular category of worker on the eMigrate system.

In Dubai itself, over 300 such applications have been rejected since the beginning of this month when employers here started producing signed contracts by following the new labour laws.

According to figures with the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the number of Indian workers recruited to the UAE more than doubled from an estimated 53,000 workers in 2014 to more than 136,000 in 2015.

Since the recruitment of these workers has been channelised through the eMigrate system since June 2015 and requirements for the same have been clearly spelt out on the website, officials feel there is no room for ignorance about the clause of minimum wages.

"The eMigrate system had rectified its teething problems and was up and running smoothly. But the clash of minimum wages has brought up new troubles from the employers here. The new mandatory employment contract stipulated by the ministry has helped us find out the discrepancy in payment happening in the market," said one source.

"Employers should realise that the Indian government will not allow workers to be recruited without ensuring that they are paid the prescribed minimum wages and they should agree to give it. It is advisable that they check the site www.emigrate.gov.in before recruiting Indian workers as it is constantly updated."

While India has made it clear that it respects the UAE's labour laws and its stand on minimum wages, officials here are in a fix about handling this newly-found, unlikely consequence of the implementation of the new labour rule.

They are expecting the issue to be discussed and resolved at the higher levels of authority.

sajila@khaleejtimes.com





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