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New rules for visa transfer

posted on 11/02/2001: 1391 views

Companies which fail to get the sponsorship for their employees transferred form other companies within a maximum period of six months from the date of obtaining the Ministry of Labour's approval for such transfers will have to repatriate such employees and bear the expenses according to a recent ministerial order.

Companies have now been given an opportunity to renew the six-month period, paying a fee of Dh500 each renewal, it said. Under the Labour Law, a company must complete the formalities of sponsorship transfer within two months after obtaining the ministry's approval on the application.

The formalities required include the issuance of a labour card and the stamping of the employment visa for the employee who is changing his visa from a previous sponsor to a new one.

However, a large number of companies ignored this rule and adopted the practice of leaving the employees hanging around in the country without completing the transfer procedure.

The new decision aims at curbing this practice and protecting the rights of expatriate employees according to Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Mattar Humaid Al Tayer. He added that companies failing to abide the rule and to repatriate the employee to his home country at the expiry of the six-month period would be blacklisted and denied any new visas.

In addition, the transactions of all companies owned by such sponsor may be frozen by the ministry. The ministerial order stipulates that companies which fail for one reason or another to process the sponsorship transfer papers within two months from the date of the ministry's approval have to apply for renewal and pay Dh500.

The order has granted companies another two months' grace period from the date of renewal to complete the formalities. But if they are unable to complete the process before two months, they can get another period of two months by paying Dh500. They will get another two months from this second renewal.

In all, companies are given a six-month period to get the employment visa stamped and obtain labour cards for employees changing their visas. The order required the new sponsor to repatriate the employees at the end of the six month period to pay for their return tickets to their home country; failing to do so they will be considered as violators and their dealings with the ministry will be suspended until they undo the violation.

The order stipulates that apart from repatriation costs, the new sponsors will also have to pay fines for the delay in issuing the labour cards. A source at the ministry said that once the sponsorship transfer form was signed by the previous and the new sponsors and approved by the ministry, the employee becomes the responsibility of the new sponsor and his relation with the old sponsor ends. (The Khaleej Times)


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