The UAE government made, by local standards, a seismic shift in labour law on January 1st 2011. From January 1st, foreign workers switching jobs will no longer need a no objection certificate (NOC) from former employers. Humaid Bin Deemas, acting Director-General at the Ministry of Labour, announced that “Workers, skilled and unskilled, who end their job contracts legally and complete at least two years of service, will get a labour permit outright.”. Previously all foreign workers were required to get a letter from their former employer that gave them ‘permission’ to go ahead and take up another job. If the employer chose not to issue the letter then the individual was banned from working for six months and would have to return to their country of origin.
Flexible labour markets allow for the fluid movement of talent within an economy; providing flexibility for business and the freedom for individuals to build careers. It demonstrates confidence in those that govern. It is a wise decision to make in the middle of a global recession and the UAE government should be applauded. It will make life much easier for residents choosing to move jobs and it will provide more certainty for employers when recruiting.
- George Stothard