UAE sponsorship system
An FNC member is calling for the sponsorship system in the country to be scrapped. But even if they did bin it, Kipp wouldn’t expect much to change.
November 9, 2010 3:24 by Samuel Potter
Less than a month after the Minister for Labour, Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, announced that the UAE system of visa sponsorship was here to stay, a member of the Federal National Council – the elected body that “advises” the government – has called for the scheme to be scrapped in the next five years.
Yousuf Obaid Ali Al Nuaimi, a representative in the FNC from Ras Al Khaimah, pointed out to the Gulf News that the current set up costs the country about Dh50 billion a year (to host more than four million foreign workers). The system “must be scrapped within three to five years to stop misuse of the system and allow free movement of workers,” according to Al Nuaimi. According to the paper, the RAK representative planned to grill Gobash on the issue on Tuesday.
“Eventually, all foreign workers must be under the jurisdiction of one authority — the Ministry of Labour,” says Al Nuaimi. “Workers must be allowed to change jobs smoothly once a contract ends and no employer should be allowed to withhold workers’ passports.”
Kipp thinks it’s questionable that Gobash we’ll pay much attention; less than one month ago he spoke out in support of the system, claiming that problems lie in implementation rather than conception.
According to Khaleej Times, Gobash said the framework of the system was legal and healthy and adopted by many countries. “I don’t support the idea of abolishing the system [of sponsorship],” he said. “What we need to look at are amendments to practices [surrounding it].”
So, Gobash may be more approachable than we think; the Minister went on to say that certain practices stemming from the current scheme require dialogue: “If the practices allow the employer to exploit the employee for a long period of time, it means the provisions [of the system] are not established properly in the market. We need to open a dialogue on the practices linked to the system,” Ghobash said.
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