NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Workers on visit visas 'disturb labour market' - Labour Ministry
Dubai: 21 Sep.: The increasing number of workers on visit visas is disturbing the labour market, a senior Labour Ministry official said.
More than half the cleaning and security companies in the country employ people on visit visas, a Labour Ministry official told Gulf News on conditions of anonymity yesterday.
"The danger in this rapidly spreading trend is that it disturbs the labour market and thus is it important to eliminate it," said Humaid Bin Deemas, Assistant Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Labour.
He said people who work under such circumstances are not only violating the law, but also are subject to exploitation as they have no rights.
According to the law, people on visit visas are not allowed to work in the country before they acquire a work permit from the Ministry of Labour. Workers who are caught violating the law are deported.
Many of these workers buy a visit visa for Dh2,000 to Dh3,000 and find a job on arrival. Others just work until their visa runs out, and others decide to stay on as they have paid a lot to come to the country.
The Ministry of Labour does not accept complaints from these people as they are considered illegal and they are referred to the Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD).
However, companies that are caught employing people on a visit visa are penalised. All transactions are stopped until they clear the violations.
Companies that provide services in hospitals and schools are reportedly the main culprits.
Rashid Bakhit Al Jumairi, Deputy Head of the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department and Member of the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs in Dubai (PCLAD), said the problem is widespread.
DNRD carries out regular inspections to limit this problem and in cases where it is proved people have been working in the country while on a visit visa are referred to court.
"The problem has lead to an increase in crime level and begging. As a member of PCLAD I hear many cases where the employers do not pay salaries to these people as they know that they are not protected by the law as they are illegal," said Al Jumairi.
A Lebanese receptionist at a clinic worked on a visit visa for more than a year as the company could not issue a work permit due to problems with the ministry. She said it was a stressful time.
"I was always scared that I might be caught. Every time there was an inspection I had to pretend that I was a patient. I would not do it again especially that it is the responsibility of the company to issue work permit, so why take the risk," she said.
No disruption of flights to Bangkok
DUBAI — 21 Sep: Flights bound for Bangkok left the UAE as scheduled yesterday, despite the recent political development in Thailand, airline industry sources said. Korakot Chatasingha, General Manager, UAE and Middle East of Thai Airways, confirmed that there was no disruption of flights after a military-led administration assumed power.
“Our flights have been operating as usual. There is no reason for us to disrupt our operations,” he said. Chatasingha added that the Thailand International Airport did not impose any curfew or restrictions on airline operations.
Reacting to the initial situation in Bangkok, Emirates Airline reportedly announced on Tuesday that it had suspended all its flights to Thailand’s capital until further notice. However yesterday, the Dubai-based airline said it would resume its operation to the Southeast Asian destination. “After a careful review of the current situation, Emirates has resumed all flights to Bangkok with immediate effect,” an Emirates spokesperson said.
Ian Ferguson-Brown, Head of Brand Management and Communications at Etihad Airways, told Khaleej Times that they would continue to offer their double-daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Bangkok. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines also did not change their flight schedules.
Son's lewd act leads to shocked father's death
Dubai: 21 Sep.: A father suffered a fatal heart attack in India when he learnt that his son was on trial for showing his genitals to a housewife in Dubai.
The Dubai Public Prosecution had charged the 22-year-old Indian janitor, A.H., with breaching a woman's privacy and indecently gesturing to the 19-year-old Omani housewife in public by showing her his private body parts.
The defence lawyer told Gulf News on Wednesday that his client's brother suffered mental problems and was sent back to India as soon as he knew about the trial.
"When the sick brother unintentionally told his father about A.H.'s problem, the father suffered a heart attack and died," said the lawyer.
The Dubai Court of First Instance heard that the incident happened when the housewife who was sitting in her husband's car saw the suspect lifting his underwear and waving his private parts in her face.
The 19-year-old was waiting for her husband who was in a barber shop in Al Ghusais. The woman told the court that the suspect flashed at her twice in 15 minutes. She claimed that he ran off when she honked the car horn.
Her husband took her to the police station where she filed charges against the janitor who was later arrested. At the police lineup the housewife identified the suspect who confessed to the charges but claimed that he "unintentionally showed his private parts".
The suspect will not be able to attend his father's funeral. A verdict will be handed in the case next month.
Law to ban human trafficking to be implemented soon
ABU DHABI — 21 Sep.: A federal law that bans human trafficking will soon be enforced in the country, according to a senior justice official.
“A federal law will be enforced in the UAE to curb human trafficking. The resolution is expected to be implemented within the next month,” said Dr Ali Ibrahim Al Housani, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice.
In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times yesterday on the sidelines of a meeting of the GCC senior justice officials, Dr Housani said the draft law has been finalised and forwarded to higher authorities in the country for endorsement.
On the main provisions of the law, the official said it will aggressively tackle the issue of protecting women and children from being sold and coerced into slavery.
Asked whether human trafficking has been reported in the country, he said, “It’s not found in the UAE. Most of the communities here feel safe as there is respect for women and children and there are severe punishments to protect them. This law is a precautionary one.”
The justice official stressed that although there are many rules and legislations in the country on curbing human trafficking, enacting a federal law has become a persistent necessity.
“There are many ordinances and legislations that are already enforced in the country to stop trading in human beings. However, passing a law to ban this illicit practice has surfaced as a necessity,” said Dr Housani.
A national committee had been formed earlier under the directives of Lieutenant-Gen. Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, to address the issue.
Dr Housani underlined the fact that the country has always issued laws and regulations to ensure the safety of all communities residing on its soil and it “strongly denounces any violations against security of people and vows severe penalties.”
Concerning cloning, Dr Housani said issuing a GCC unified law on banning cloning has been postponed and that the member states have recommended adopting a unified Arab law instead. A draft law on cloning is being negotiated at this level, he added.
Two students sent to hospital after violence by teacher
Ras Al Khaimah: 21 Sep: Two public school students on Wednesday forgot to bring their mathematics textbooks to class, prompting their teacher to punish them by hitting their heads together several times, giving one student a nosebleed after the second blow.
The blood covered the student's desk, his side of the classroom and the school corridor.
School sources said that two national students in grade 7 (each 12 years old) of a primary school were punished by their teacher in such a violent way that concerns were sparked throughout the educational establishment.
The sources said the two students, identified as A.M.T and A.A.A, failed to appear in class with their textbooks when the Jordanian mathematics teacher, identified as Z, arrived in class and told the students to bring out their textbooks, and ordering those who forgot them to stand up.
The two victims stood up and the teacher asked them to stand next to each other at the front of the class. The teacher grabbed the heads of the two students and struck them together. Not satisfied with the first blow, he did it again.
But at the moment of the second hit, A.M.T turned his head and his nose struck the head of his classmate and started bleeding heavily.
The teacher tried to stop the bleeding but in vain.
At the sight of the blood the other students in the class started shouting for help for their classmate.
The teacher reported the incident to school officials, who rushed the bleeding student to the restroom to try to control the bleeding, but they also failed.
A.A.A. suffered serious head pain and, unable to stand up, was left crying on the ground.
School officials summoned the fathers of the two students who rushed their children to the hospital.
The students were treated and released from the hospital after a few hours.
The fathers were given official medical certificates and returned to the school to discuss the issue with school officials.
The fathers refused to talk to the teacher. The school officials promised the fathers that the necessary legal measures would be taken against the teacher.
The fathers also contacted the Ras Al Khaimah Educational Zone and filed a complaint against the teacher.
Officials said the zone's management sent an investigator to the school. One father was not satisfied and approached the Ministry of Education and filed another complaint demanding an immediate investigation.
School sources said the future of the teacher depends on the decisions to be taken either by the zone or the ministry, but nothing would be done until the school management receives an official notice.
Ramadan work hours
DUBAI — 21 Sep.: All ministries and federal government departments will work from 9am to 2pm during the holy month of Ramadan, according to the ministerial decrees no (16) of 1998 and no (21) of 2006.
Evicted bachelors search for accommodation
Dubai - 21 Sep.: Hundreds of bachelors in Hor Al Anz who have been asked to vacate their villas are searching for alternative shelter after the Dubai Electricity and Water Department (Dewa) disconnected services to their area.
About 4,000 Asian workers – mostly Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Filipinos and Sri Lankans – from 54 villas are not getting water and electricity.
Those affected said they were facing difficulties in finding accommodation.
“There are no rooms available within our budgets. Our salary is Dh1,500 per month and any bed space in Dubai costs between Dh500 and Dh750.There is nowwhere for bachelors to go,” said an evicted tenant.
Dewa disconnected water and electricity supplies to the villas near Al Hamriya Street three months after it asked bachelor tenants to vacate the area.
Jameel, a Pakistani pick-up driver, said the authorities should tell them where they can go.
Due to the high demand for accommodation, even car sheds have been converted into residential rooms.
Another evicted resident said: “We cannot find any affordable rooms. A single room costs Dh3,500 near Century Mall and five people are allowed to stay in it. We cannot afford to spend half of our salary just on rent.
“Earlier, a bed space was available for Dh220 per month. Now the rent has gone up by almost three times.While rents are going up every quarter, our salaries are not increased. Companies that employ us don’t give us accommodation,” he added.
Anil Kumar, who works for an oil company, said: “We found many villas in Al Rashidiya, but all are for families. We have been searching for bachelor accommodation for one month.”
Motorists reduced to snail’s pace in Dubai
Dubai - 21 Sep.: Motorists were in a terrible shape as they crawled to work at a snail’s pace after getting caught in severe traffic jams on Sheikh Zayed Road and Emirates Road yesterday.
Drivers said it took up to two hours to get from Al Ghusais to Umm Suqeim, as they got caught up in the mayhem.
“It usually takes me only half-an-hour to get to work, but today it took me one hour and 45 minutes,” said one female driver.
She said she saw at least three major accidents on her journey and believed this could have been the cause of the problems, as people began to rubberneck.
In a separate incident, a man was taken to hospital in a critical condition after he was hit by a female driver while trying to cross Al Manama Street in Dubai.
Police were not able to provide more details about the incident, which took place at around 10am yesterday.
Official statistics show that of the 157 people who died on Dubai’s roads in the first half of the year, around 40 per cent were pedestrians.
The authorities have taken a series of preventive measures, including putting up a fence in the middle of Sheikh Zayed Road.
Last month, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority launched a Dh70 million project that will see bridges and other types of pedestrian crossings being built at 45 locations across the city.
Officials have allocated Dh50.1m to almost double the number of pedestrian bridges in Dubai so that people do not dash across roads.
The plan includes 17 pedestrian bridges on Emirates Road, Sheikh Rashid Road and Khalifa bin Zayed Road. Fences will be put up near each bridge, to make sure that people do not cross the roads. A total of 26 fences will also be built at a cost of Dh18.47m. There is also a provision for seven pedestrian crossings with signals.
The authority had said in August that it will implement the new measures in the next 12 months.