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Move to explain visa transfer rules

posted on 20/10/2002: 1600 views

Regulations for sponsorship transfer, issued last year by the Cabinet Decision No. 30 for 2001, will be interpreted elaborately to clear the ambiguities. The move was initiated by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to clear confusion over the transfer of sponsorship. Certain job titles eligible for sponsorship transfer sometimes overlap with other job titles, which are not eligible for transfer. As a result, officials processing transfer applications in both ministries find it difficult to identify whether the applicant is eligible for visa transfer. For example, some engineers, who work as managers, apply for sponsorship transfer, but their applications are rejected because the transfer of managers' sponsorship requires the applicant to hold a masters degree, while an engineer is not required to hold that degree for the sponsorship transfer.

According to sources at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, this is due to the literal interpretation of the Cabinet decision by officials. Sources added that the new move is necessary although committees in Abu Dhabi and Dubai assigned to reconsider rejected sponsorship applications have greatly helped to clear the confusion. Sources also explained that the Cabinet decision authorises the two ministries to propose any amendment or interpretation to the regulation to fill in the gaps found after the implementation of the decision. The Labour Ministry has called on sponsors to pay employees their dues before initiating sponsorship transfer procedures to avoid labour disputes.

Sources said that some employers refrain from paying dues to employees wishing to transfer sponsorships, because they think that sponsorship transfer bars an employee from receiving his dues. In the same context, the ministry may further extend from two to six months the period required for the sponsorship transfer form to be submitted to the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department for the new residency visa to be stamped on an employee's passport, as some sponsors take more than two months in sending the form to the department. The Labour Ministry has also blacklisted seven firms for employing illegal immigrants, following a crackdown in Dubai.

The move followed reports that some private firms were employing illegal immigrants. The ministry, assisted by Dubai Police, sent ten labour inspectors, who arrested 43 workers found to be under the sponsorship of other firms. Arrangements are underway to deport illegal immigrants, while women, who are under the sponsorship of their families, will be barred from working in the UAE for a full year. The ministry said that sanctions imposed on the seven firms will only be lifted three months after the date the violations were cleared. The Inspection Department of the ministry also wants to ensure that the original sponsors of the detained workers have informed the ministry that their workers have absconded. If no report has been made, the original sponsor will be held accountable and may be blacklisted, as per the Cabinet Decision No. 851. (The Gulf News)


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