The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor has extended the deadline for domestic workers to transfer their visa to Article 18 provided it is under the same sponsor or first-degree relatives of the current sponsor, until Jan 15, 2010, reports Al-Shahid daily quoting sources. Clarifying the ministry had earlier set an Oct 15 deadline, sources said the ministry extended the deadline in line with its commitment to ease procedures for expatriates and improve their work condition. In another development, Al-Watan Arabic daily reported that the labor departments in the six governorates have started issuing work permits to correct the status of about 18,000 expatriate workers whose names have been deleted from the system.
Sources confirmed the departments have also started implementing a decision allowing expatriate workers, who were hired from abroad on Article 18 visa, to transfer to another sponsor without obtaining approval from the current sponsor as long as they spent three years with the latter. However, some departments have suspended the processing of such applications as the concerned workers have not settled disputes with their current sponsors or a decision has been issued for their repatriation. Sources said the suspension is aimed at giving the concerned authorities enough time to address these issues.
Moreover, sources disclosed the Labor Sector is studying a number of important decisions, which will be referred to Minister Dr Mohammad Al-Afasi soon, reports Al-Qabas daily.
After extensive meetings with the Government Manpower Restructuring Program (GMRP) and Civil Service Commission (CSC), sources said the ministry decided to exempt companies, wholly owned by the government, from the national worker percentage rule, on condition that the Cabinet will not issue new decisions in this regard later.
In a memo forwarded to the Cabinet recently, the ministry stated these companies are also exempted from regulations on the transfer of salaries and allowances to the bank accounts of employees. Sources added the ministry will soon issue several decisions in the interest of the expatriate workers to pave the way for developing the local labor sector in accordance with the directives of Al-Afasi.