New labour laws in UAE will benefit NRIs

Biju GovindJanuary 17, 2022 13:49 IST
Updated: January 17, 2022 13:49 IST

New laws to go into effect from February 2

The new labour laws that will take effect from February 2 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are expected to be beneficial to thousands of Non Resident Indian (NRI) workers as some of the provisions will provide greater protection to employees and more flexibility at work places.

Employees both in government and private sectors will have a similar working environment. Some of the salient features of the new labours laws are protections against discrimination and harrassment, equal pay for women, fixed -term employment contracts, provisions for employees to undertake full-time, part-time, temporary or flexible work, notice period and reasons for terminations.

Abu Dhabi - based legal consultant M.R. Rajesh described the new labour enactments as a new magna carta in the UAE. “The formation of a supreme arbitration committee for collective labour disputes shows the UAE government’s responsibility and commitment towards dealing with workplace irregularities,” he said.


However many NRIs are sceptical about how some of the provisions would operate. “ The new laws look very attractive. But it remains to be seen how many of them will be implemented,” social critic and observer of Arab policies, Mohammed Hashim, based in Dubai, said. Many believe that executive regulations are required to clarify certain provisions. Certainly the changes will be made to employment contracts, policies and practises.

“ The restrictions on working hours may adversely affect a project span. The clients should allow more time to contractors to avoid fines,” Binu Sankarankutty, MEP Project Head, in UAE, said.

An Indian investor and CEO of ATC Group of companies, Salahuddin Hassan, has raised concerns about some clauses defining categories in the unskilled workers when they apply for job visas to the UAE.

An estimated 34.25 lakh Indian expatriates are residening in the UAE. Of this, 7.74 lakh constitute the Kerala diaspora. The UAE ranks number one in the NRIs population in the world.

For non-residents, especially the majority of Indians, Suresh Kumar, an IT Advisor in Abu Dhabi, said these positive changes are great blessings. The UAE for the first time, recognises part-time working where an employee may be employed with two or more employers in private sector.

“ These reforms will improve the morale of the people and give more time for their personal and mental wellness. Additional maternity and paternity leaves also help in caring for their newborn, “ he said.

The UAE has seen a flurry of reforms in recent times. These include ending the licensing system for alcohol purchases, bringing in 21 plus age rating of movies in theatres, decriminalising consensual relationship out of wedlock, introducing a two-and-a-half-day weekend as well as long-term residency options.