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Thursday, 5 June 2014

LEGAL ISSUE: Employment Contracts to Determine Exit Permit

Whether an expatriate worker would need exit permit or not to travel overseas would be decided by the job contract he signs with his employer once the sponsorship system is changed.

The worker can also put a condition in the contract, subject to approval of his employer, that he would be changing the job at the end of his contractual period.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, H E Dr Abdullah bin Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi, at an International Labour Conference in Geneva yesterday.

The Minister said procedures to remove the sponsorship system (regulated by Law Number 4 of 2009) were on at a quick pace.

After the sponsorship system is gone, a contractual system would be put in place. The contract inked between a foreign worker and his employer would regulate the relationship between the two, said Al Khulaifi. “The contract will decide whether a worker needs exit permit or not to leave the country. And whether he gets no-objection certificate to take up another job at the end of the contract would also be decided by this contract.”

The wage protection system (WPS) for workers is being finalised. “It is in the last stages.” Exchange houses are also being made part of the WPS network along with banks, said the Minister. It will be mandatory for companies to transfer their workers’ salaries to banks or exchange houses every month.

If a worker wants and provides his bank account details in home country, his salary could be credited into this account directly, said Al Khulaifi.

Relevant provisions of the labor law are being amended to facilitate the launch of the WPS, according to him. “Work on the WPS is proceeding very fast.”