NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
India Introduces New Measures to regulate Recruitment of Maids
UAE - SEP. 17: The Indian Government has introduced new measures to regulate the recruitment of young women for unskilled overseas employment.
Beginning this month, Indian women included in the Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) category will only be permitted to work abroad if they are 30 years of age or older, an official spokesman of the Indian Consulate in Dubai said.
The move comes after a recent meeting of Indian ambassadors to the Gulf countries with officials of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) in New Delhi.
Officials said the initiative aimed to protect young women from being exploited.
“This applies to all women under the ECR category irrespective of the nature or category of employment. Earlier the age restriction for women was only for domestic helpers and housemaids,” the consulate source said.
The new rule intended to combat recruitment agents who try to circumvent the age restriction for domestic helpers, he added.
The ECR category is applicable to Indian citizens who have not completed high school education and it covers many professions such as beauticians, office assistants and sales staff. However, the move will not effect recruit ment of nurses and other women professionals.
“The government of India has also stipulated that employment contracts should be made directly between the worker and the employer and not with a recruiting agent,” the source said.
An employer must now also provide every domestic worker with a pre-paid mobile phone so she can contact the Indian authorities in the event of any difficulty, he added.
The MOIA had earlier introduced a 24-hour helpline to help Indians who face difficulties abroad.
The new rules took effect this month and the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate general in Dubai will now attest documents pertaining to the recruitment of women if they comply with the revised guidelines.
The MOIA has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE Ministry of Labour to protect its citizens in the country.
Chinese goods under scanner
DUBAI — SEP. 17: With several Chinese products being banned recently because of a suspected range of risks they pose to public health, Dubai Municipality and other government departments are now strictly monitoring the entry of all Chinese-made products into the UAE.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Consulate in Dubai confirmed yesterday that the diplomatic mission too is examining this issue and its implications seriously.
Minister of Justice Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Daheri said, “The government applies a ‘zero tolerance’ policy when it comes to products and commodities that could pose a risk to public health. There is a strict quality control system in place and government officials are monitoring the market to ensure that products containing toxic or hazardous materials are kept off the shelves.”
He added, several laws such as the Consumer Protection Law, Commercial Fraud Law, Penal Law and many other rules and regulatory mechanisms are in force to help protect the consumers’ health and rights, and to curb any violations of these laws.
Officials from all six GCC countries, he said, are working on a coordinated strategy to ensure that the quality of all products coming into any member-country is well certified by subjecting them to mandatory quality checks and tests. Also, the new regime which would go into effect on January 1, 2008, under the framework of the GCC Customs Union, would act as a major deterrent for violators.
The latest Chinese product to be banned, earlier last week, was a kitchenware item whose removal from the shelves was ordered by the Ministry of Economy.
As Hamdan Al Shair, Director of the Environment Department of Dubai Municipality said the civic body was keeping a strict watch on all such products and also carrying out quality checks and tests in laboratories.”
In an earlier interview with Khaleej Times, Chinese Consul General Gao You Zhen had said the Chinese government has been actively monitoring China-based companies engaged in the manufacturing and exporting of various products. The initiative was undertaken following recent news reports of product recalls from various stores worldwide, particularly in the United States (US).
Gao also said Beijing has stepped up its nationwide monitoring, with a special emphasis on food manufacturers, to ensure standardised food quality and safety.
In the UAE, however, the recent product recalls have not gravely affected the Chinese import business. “From January to May 2007, the revenue from bilateral trade exchanges between China and the UAE reached US$7 billion (Dh26 billion). This reflects a significant increase in the trade volume between our countries, as well as a strong confidence in Chinese products by UAE businessmen,” Gao stated.
No work permits if firms don’t open workers’ bank accounts
ABU DHABI — SEP. 17: The Ministry of Labour (MoL) will not issue work permits to companies which do not open bank accounts for their workers with effect from January 2008.
Assistant Undersecretary Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi said that opening of bank accounts for workers by the companies is a ‘must’ according to Cabinet instructions aimed at protecting the labourers’ rights, particularly timely payment of wages and salaries.
Hence, the ministry will not issue any work permits until firms open bank accounts,” explained Al Zahmi. Ministry officials have met the Governor of Emirates Central Bank to coordinate efforts to provide facilities to companies seeking to open bank accounts for workers.
Over 16,000 illegals left Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI — SEP. 17: A total 16,408 illegal workers have so far left Abu Dhabi since the amnesty was announced on June 3, according to sources at the Abu Dhabi Naturalisation and Residency Department. Some 30,000 workers had legalised their status.
Labour camp gutted in Al Ain
AL AIN — SEP. 17: A labour camp of a well-known general contracting establishment in Asharij area in Al Ain was gutted when a major fire broke out on Thursday. However, no casualties were reported.
An official of the Al Ain Police Emergency and Safety Unit (AAPESU) told Khaleej Times that the labour camp consisted of seven wooden caravans, which were all reduced to ashes in the fire. The fire broke out at 10am when the workers were engaged in work. As soon as they learnt of the incident, the workers rushed to the spot to try and salvage valuables, said the official.