UAE lifts six-month ban on workers who opt out of contracts

Date Posted: 06/30/2016

The United Arab Emirates has lifted the six-month ban on foreign workers’ who opt out of their contracts before they expire, a move welcomed by the Department of Labor and Employment.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz told GMA News Online that the lifting of the ban was favorable to Filipino migrants as it would help those in unfavorable conditions find new employment immediately.

“If their problem with their employer is justifiable and they need to end their contract earlier than the expiry date, the new development gives them flexibility,” Baldoz said.

However, Baldoz urged OFWs to adhere to the DOLE’s longstanding policy of fulfilling one’s contract if their reason for leaving their employer is not embodied in the list of justifiable arguments for cancelling their deal.

“Keep the contract until the expiry date passes. Give your best to work and do not give any cause for the contract to be terminated. That’s why you signed a contract of employment and paid for all of the expenses when you were applying for the job,” Baldoz said.

“Maganda lang na if you have justifiable reasons to leave, there’s no more ban. You can move to other employers,” she added.

Filipinos and other foreign workers may now find employment immediately after their termination after the United Arab Emirates lifted its six month ban on expats who end their contracts early.

The Baniyas District Chief Prosecutor Mohammed Al Danhani announced that workers may now change jobs even before completing two years’ worth of work, 7Days reported last December 30.

“The new regulation will help reduce the many labour disputes, mainly between employers and expat workers fighting work bans, that have been handled by courts. The easing of the ban will also curb the absconding of workers as many employees tend to run away after being prevented from changing jobs,” the news website 7Days quoted Al Danhani.

Lifting the ban is expected to curb joblessness and crimes linked with unemployment among unemployed foreign workers.

About 340,000 of the one million employees who cancelled work permits in 2014 were affected by the ban.

The new labor rules came to effect on January 1, more than three months after Saqr Ghobash, UAE Labor Minister, issued three ministerial decrees to enhance the Emirates’ labor market and relations.

“The new decrees seek to accomplish this very purpose of ensuring that, as per the provisions of our laws, labour performed by the worker under the contract begins, and continues to be strictly voluntary and consensual throughout the employment relation,” Ghobash explained in an interview with Gulf News last September.

Furthermore, the new decrees would help protect expat workers by ensuring the transparency of contracts, consent of both parties in continuing contracts, and empowering workers to seek employment suitable to their competencies and skills. — Rie Takumi/NB, GMA News

Published Date: January 5, 2016
Source: GMA News