Good News All Round

THESE are not merely bold steps, these are dramatic steps in the realm of the job market and in giving it a 21st century facelift. Some inkling did come about that more good things could happen when the three-year visa’s cut to two diluted the time of control from sponsor to employee but coming so soon on its heels, it positively revolutionises the relationship, makes it healthier, generates profound confidence in the job market, brings in stability and yet, does not in any way, encourage exploitation of either one or the other.

The government, in its wisdom, has rightly decided that developing a sense of permanence in the expatriate population is a positive aspect. When it is applied to the more skilled or intellectual levels, it becomes a long-term investment since these capabilities have to be looked upon as an important commodity.

By loosening the shackles, so to speak, three things occur immediately. There is a finer cutting edge to competition which is healthy. There is more effort in the ranks because the employees now have the onus of protecting their jobs. It also jumpstarts the commercial, corporate and financial sectors because this incredible nation has one of the most advanced infrastructures for being productive and for living at a very high standard. The maturing in the right to work prerogative while being integral to the ethos of employee loyalty, integrity and the letter of the law will create a very attractive lure to the rest of the world.

Contrary to what is often expressed, the average individual is not eager to shift jobs, put his employment in jeopardy or take his sponsor for a ride. What he wants is a career graph and these are appropriate moves in that direction.

These decisions are certain to instill a higher level of commitment in the worker and make his relationship with the company he or she works for rise above that of the ‘personal’ and predicate itself on the ‘professional’ elements.

It will also bring to an end malpractices, the unpleasant concept of absconding, the option of deception by secretly negotiating deals and having one’s life uprooted courtesy the six-month ban. For these reasons, the decisions need to be lauded without reservation.

For the sponsor, it will also reduce the huge costs of repatriation, the headache of chasing down runaways and constantly doing a global hunt for new talent when it will be at one’s doorstep and legally available.

As has been made very clear by Minister of Labour Saqr Gobash, all this does not reduce a sponsor’s rights or allows the concessions to be seen as an incentive to ‘do the dirty’ with one’s organisation. It is merely a healthy step in coming in line with the rest of the world and underscoring the dignity and fairness in the relationship between employer and employee for the betterment of the country and for getting rid of anomalies.

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