Expatriate workers employed in UAE's private sector are to have the validity of their labour cards shortened to two years as opposed to the current three, the UAE Ministry of Labour has announced.
The purpose of the labour card is to tie the employee to their employer for the duration of its validity, so this new change is actually a positive development. Expat employees will now have more freedom to change employer, bringing change to a system that is often viewed as draconian.
In an official statement Humaid bin Deemas, the assistant secretary for labour affairs at the Ministry of Labour, said: “The decision will have a positive impact on the labour market as it will create more flexibility in the employer-employee relationship, and will allow both parties to this relationship a shorter time.”
It is hoped that this change will bring about increased competition in the UAE labour market, along with more flexible conditions that will inevitably lead to more foreign investment and more skilled foreign workers.
The Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Interior will now also discuss the possibility of altering the current three year residency visa to match it up with the labour card.