Sunday, May 15, 2005

10 commercial licenses per government official is OK-ed - Khaleej Times

ABU DHABI — The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has finally nodded conditional sanction allowing ministry officials to obtain employment visas, Khaleej Times has learnt. The decision, which will come into effect from today followed a three month controversial denial by the Labour Minister, Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi to issue employment visas for his staff despite their applications in compliance with required conditions for granting work permits.

Dr Al Kaabi said the move aims to regulate issuance of employment visa and make sure employees don’t own commercial licences that contradict with the professions as ministry officials.

“The door is open now for all the staff to obtain employment visa through the concerned committees provided that applicants don’t own more than 10 facilities”, a senior official source at the ministry yesterday, told Khaleej Times. “Officials who have more than 10 firms are allowed to transfer the ownership of some facilities to another person even if he/she was his/her relatives”, said the source.
The ministry grants employment visas. There is a conflict of interest. The ministry officials can see what industries are requesting visas. If they are allowed to own businesses they will be able to trade on this information. And they will have the opportunity to limit visas to companies that compete with theirs.

"The decision has been widely welcomed by the staff, specially where 75 per cent of the employees own 10 or less firms while the other 25 per cent either possess marginal activities or have their facilities on the verge of closure”, explained the source. He said the decision would help the staff settle the status of their firms, so as to be able to get new work permits.

“It would also ensure employees would be able to secure a level of competence in their work. It is not logical that a ministry employee could own 130 commercial licences and manage at the same time to function accordingly”.
130 commercial licences and hold down a full time government job. Wow.

He said under the new order, it is not permissible for the staff to own labourforce recruitment offices, nurseries or centres for rehabilitation of people with special needs. “Other banned activities might also be added later to the list of exercises the ministry staff shouldn’t get involved in”, he said.
The common element in all these that I see, or imagine, is low-wage high-turnover jobs. These industries may be more reliant than others on employment visas. It would be a competitive advantage to have expedited visa service.

UPDATE: 7DAYS has more quotes.

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