Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bureaucracy gone mad.

To continue on yesterday's theme, there's an article in Gulf News today under the title "A few things to note before changing jobs".

Before I get onto it, let's set the scene.

We're talking about the free-wheeling, tax free, hard-nosed business centre of Dubai. The city which makes doing business easy and profitable because it's pinned its very future on its commercial success.

Dubai depends on businesses setting up here. Businesses which can attract talent to work in them.

I can do no better than simply print the words in the article, by Alice Johnson. She's writing about expatriates who want to change their job.

Change your job? Simple isn't it - you give the required notice to your employer, they throw a goodbye party on your last day, everyone wishes you good luck and next week you start your new job.

Not in the free-wheeling, tax free, hard-nosed business centre of Dubai.

OK Alice, off you go: aware that the visa transfer/issuing of a new residence visa and labour card is a complicated process...

...To transfer a visa, the new employer needs to gain permission from the previous employer, after gaining approval from the Ministry of Labour.

Residence visas are usually issued for a period of three years. The UAE's free zone visas can usually be transferred from one employer to the next. However, the previous employer needs to agree to the transfer and may need to provide a no objection certificate (NOC). The NOC may need to be provided in Arabic, on headed notepaper, signed by the local sponsor.

If you have a non-free zone visa, it will need to be cancelled before a new visa can be applied for.
You will need to sign a document instructive of a six-month work ban. This ban, however, can be lifted with the NOC from a previous employer.

If a non-free zone visa is cancelled, the new employer may have to pay a fine for the duration of the remainder of the visa, if the employee has not completed a specified period of work. This period is one year for Masters and PhD holders, who can transfer sponsorship an unlimited number of times. It is two years for Bachelors degree or equivalent, and are allowed to transfer twice.

Other categories of employee with lower qualifications are allowed to transfer once during their tenure in the UAE, and must have been working for at least three years for a current employer.
The one-year clause can be exempted under certain conditions, including approval from current sponsor, minimum qualification of a high school certificate, approval from the Minister of the Undersecretary and payment of certain fees.

Under certain rules, labour categories are exempt, provided employers pay Dh3,000. These rules include a company announcing bankruptcy or if the Ministry of Labour cancels a company's license.

You can bet that's just the tip of the iceburg too. Delve into it and there are bound to be many more inclusions, exclusions, educational rankings, that's-not-allowed-but-you-can-if-you-pay-a-fee clauses...

How do they come up with this stuff?

So many unnecessary obstacles thrown in your path when you try to do anything. And so many fees, the tax that dare not speak its name.


I'm not making it up, you can read Alice's article in full here.


Restless in Dubai said...

Astonishing to say the least.

I know a couple of very talented, well educated fellows, who, unfortunately, were misled and employed by crappy employers. They were struggling to complete their first year and then get the hell out of the shit holes they work at. But this comes in place now, and you can't leave unless you have completed 3 year and/or you get an NOC, which of course something those guys would never get in their wildest dreams. I am in HR and I am looking for some good talents to hire, you wont believe how many times we had great candidate who couldn't join because of this stupid system. Really, stupid.


caz said...

Absolutely mind numbing,.

I now regard our public servants in a more charitable light.