News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Domestic helpers allowed to switch jobs

Dubai: 22 Aug:Domestic helpers who wish to change their jobs will face no ban if they obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the original sponsor, officials have said.

Officials from naturalisation and residency departments said yesterday this decision came into effect about three months ago.

According to the new regulation, domestic helpers, including housemaids, can transfer sponsorship if they obtain an NOC from the original sponsor even if they have come on an employment visa and the residence visa has not been stamped on their passports.

An official said: "The maid may have had a contract for two years, but worked only one day with the original sponsor. If she wants to change her job, she can with the NOC."


Decision on maids will benefit all parties, say officials

Dubai: 22 Aug: The new decision allowing housemaids to transfer sponsorship if they obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the original sponsor will benefit all parties concerned, officials said on Monday.

Under the new decision, domestic workers who wish to change their job will face no ban if they obtain an NOC from the original sponsor, officials from naturalisation and residency departments said.

According to the new regulation, domestic helpers, including housemaids, can transfer sponsorship if they obtain an NOC from the original sponsor even if they have come on an employment visa and the residence visa has not been stamped on their passports.

An official said: "The maid may have had a contract for two years, but worked only one day with the original sponsor. If she wants to change her job, she can with the NOC." The maid will have to serve notice that she wants to change jobs.

If the original sponsor wants to give a one-year ban on a housemaid, he or she should must submit a letter to the residency department asking it to do so. The housemaid then will not be able to enter the country for one year from the date of leaving the UAE.

The official said currently maids do not have to work for two years and fulfil contractual obligations to avoid a ban.

A year ago, domestic helpers used to be given an automatic one-year ban on the cancellation of their visa even if the maid had worked the contractual obligation of two years with the original sponsor.

The maids would get the ban even if the sponsor did not ask for it.

The new decision was taken to reduce the number of housemaids who enter the country. The move, officials said, would also reduce the problem of absconding housemaids.

The decision will also benefit housemaids who can find another job. It also helps sponsors to change the housemaid if he or she is not happy with the person.

Labour agencies will also benefit because they will have no trouble in finding a sponsor for unwanted housemaids.

Rule: NOC needed from original sponsor

A housemaid can transfer to another sponsor if she gets an no objection certificate (NOC).

For all emirates barring Dubai, a sum of Dh500 has to be paid for the transfer and the maid does not have to leave the country for the visa change.

In Dubai, however, if the maid does not want to leave the country for the visa transfer Dh1,000 has to be paid over and above the Dh500.


Abandoned workers recount ordeal

Abu Dhabi: 22 Aug: Former employees with the Bridges and Roads International Construction Company (BRICC) have described how they survived in the UAE after the owner of the company disappeared in 2004 abandoning over 1,000 unpaid workers.

Yesterday nearly Dh6 million was still being distributed to the men outside the Abu Dhabi Sharia court a day after a landmark case put an end to the workers' 26-month wait.

While the Labour Ministry quickly granted permission to seek alternative employment in 2004, the men described how finding jobs left them penniless and in some instances forced them to appeal for money from their cash-strapped families in Pakistan.

Mohammad Fayaz who had worked for BRICC for 12 years and has a family of seven to support said he spent three months without a job after the company owner vanished.

When he eventually found another job with a trading company he was thousands of dirhams in debt and had to pay a Dh3,500 fine after his visa expired.

"Life was terribly difficult. Many of us had nothing. We tried to help each other but it was impossible. Is this the way a company you work for for so long should treat you?" he asked.

Ahmad Zamir who had worked as a labourer with BRICC for seven years said like many he was forced to work illegally while he hunted for alternative employment.

He said after three months sometimes earning as little as Dh20 a day and worried the authorities would find out he had no sponsor, he eventually found work with another construction company.

"It was very exhausting and worrying for people back home," he said referring to his seven family members, including one child who he hasn't seen in three years.

Mohammad Sabir was a driver and foreman with BRICC for five years. He spent nine months searching for another job which paid him enough to support his family. He was aware of the irony of his situation when he had to ask them to come to his aid.

"I had to ask them, the people who I am supposed to be supporting, to help me. I had to get loans from those I am here to help. I cannot begin to tell you how hard it was. We were completely abandoned. Our stories are too long to tell you now," he said.


Workers who beat and raped woman land in jail

Dubai: 22 Aug: Two workers who lured a woman into their car and raped her have been jailed.

The Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced the two Pakistani workers 31-year-old G.H. and 27-year-old S.A. to five years and one month in jail. They will be deported after serving their prison terms.

The Dubai Public Prosecution charged them with luring the 39-year-old Russian victim, N.L., into their car and raping her in a remote area.

They were also charged with beating, threatening to disfigure the victim's face and stealing her mobile phone, sunglasses and gold necklace and earrings. G.H. was separately charged with infiltration and S.A. with consuming liquor.

The victim, who works for a trading company, told the police that she was kidnapped and raped by two men.

Police tracked the assailant by the car number plate a rented car which he and his compatriot used during the incident.

In her statement to the police, the woman said one of the assailants offered to drop her home after she met them in a pub in Bur Dubai.

When they took a different direction, she questioned them. G.H. said they needed to take some documents from a friend's place. Her suspicions were confirmed when she realised that the rear doors could not be opened from inside.

She said they drove off to an uninhabited area where they beat and raped her. The culprits also threatened to disfigure her face.

Dubai Police arrested the 27-year-old accused in a joint operation with Umm Al Quwain police. The stolen items were found in the homes of the assailants.

In their statement, the two accused said they met the woman in a pub and that she agreed to have intercourse with both of them for Dh600.

They raped her when she refused to sleep with them on reaching the Al Awir Industrial Area.

Then they returned to Dubai and dropped her near a hospital after robbing her.

They said she sustained some injuries because she resisted them during the incident.

131,000 traffic offences reported in July

Dubai: 22 Aug: Motorists will have to pay about Dh20 million in fines with police reporting more than 131,000 traffic offences in July, a senior police official said.

Police have plans to increase the number of mobile and stationary radars to stop motorists from speeding, said Brigadier Eisa Aman, Acting Director of Dubai Police's Traffic Department.

Out of the 131,832 traffic offences recorded in July, 86,315 were speeding offences


Extra patrols 'needed to boost use of safety belt' 

Abu Dhabi:  22 Aug: A study conducted by the Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrols Department on the use of safety belts recommends extra patrols at night and on weekends.

The study prepared by Dr Hassan Yousuf Al Hosni, Researcher and Specialist in Preventive Medicine and Traffic Safety at Zayed Military Hospital suggests there are more violations of the safety belt regulation at night and on weekends.

The study as part of a five-month long campaign Yes To Safety Belt from March 4 to July 15 was conducted by the department in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

The initial indications drawn in the study, according to Dr Al Hosni, show there is a very low awareness of the importance of seat belts, especially in the villages and rural areas compared to cities and urban areas in Abu Dhabi.

He also said the study and its indicators need to be taken into consideration when planning traffic strategies, besides focusing on cars using tinted glass.

The study recommends more campaigns to draw the attention of young drivers for they are less committed to using seat belts compared to motorists in the age group of 40 and above.

Dr Al Hosani said the study shows only 48 per cent of motorists used seat belts before the campaign in cities, 23 per cent in remote areas and 30 per cent on highways.

However, the campaign helped improve the situation, for 62 per cent started to use seat belts in cities, 42 per cent in remote areas and 45 per cent on highways after a month.

The study also shows that seat belt use by motorists driving vehicles with tinted windows in the city was 25 per cent before the campaign compared to 67 per cent.

First phase

Dr Al Hosni said: "The study shows the number of UAE national drivers using seat belts is low.

"Before the campaign, only 5.8 per cent national motorists used safety belts, and by the end of the first phase of the campaign, the number has increased to 14.5 per cent."

Dr Al Hosni said the percentage of expatriate motorists using safety belts has increased from 54 per cent to 70.6 per cent.

He said the use of seat belts among expatriates is five times greater than among UAE nationals.

He also said the use of safety belts by passengers is very low.

The initial indications drawn in the study, according to Dr Al Hosni, show that there is a very low awareness of the importance of seat belts.


37 drivers have licences cancelled

Dubai: 22 Aug: Police have cancelled the driving licences of 37 heavy vehicle drivers who jumped red signals in the first half of this year.

Brigadier Eisa Aman, Acting Director of Dubai Police's Traffic Department, said the cancellation came based on the orders of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to cancel the driving licences of heavy vehicle drivers who jump red signals putting the lives of other road users in danger.

Brigadier Aman said police patrols, traffic control teams and traffic police on all Dubai roads had stiffened procedures of monitoring heavy vehicles which jump red signals.

He called on the public to cooperate and report heavy vehicle drivers that jump red signals.

Police reported more than 131,000 traffic offences in July. Around 2,028 truck drivers were fined for using banned roads.


The sky is the limit for rental costs in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI — 22 Aug: It all sounds great — new, spacious apartments, close to the city centre, with balcony, a sea view, parking and gym.

But is it?

The posh building flats available for rent on Al Mina Road, Abu Dhabi, are, indeed, state-of-the-art.

However, the price tag is equally ‘fabulous’.

For a four-bedroom apartment, the rent is Dh160,000 per year, while a five-bedroom is Dh180,000 per year.

“For this kind of money one could get a villa, with a garden, which is far more private,” pointed out an estate agent, who preferred not to reveal his identity.

For this kind of money, one would also expect excellent amenities, he added. 

The apartments are, indeed, clean and large, there is a gym, with sauna and jacuzzi on the top floor and an underground car park. But the location is far from ideal.

The beautiful sea and city view is only available on one side of the building, while on the other side the scene is noisy, dusty and polluting.

There is no grocery shop, pharmacy or laundry in the vicinity and because of the one-way system, before the tenants can drive into the city, they must make a two-three-kilometre  journey to Zayed Port and then take a U-turn.

As the estate agent pointed out, the flats come unfurnished, so adding the cost of furnishing four or five bedrooms and a large living room, the accommodation price could easily reach Dh200,000.

He said that, in general, the rental cost in Abu Dhabi is going up by gigantic leaps every year.

In one of the towers, a nearby building, the rent has been going up by Dh10,000 every year.

“I remember two years ago it was Dh35,000, last year it went up to Dh45,000 and now they are asking for Dh55,000,” revealed the estate agent.

These prices are for one-bedroom flats only, without balconies and with very poor soundproofing.

Even shared accommodation has become expensive.   “Our office has recently rented one room in a four-bedroom apartment for four Filipino women. There is only one bathroom in the flat although there are about 12 people are living there. And yet, the monthly rent is Dh700,” said the estate agent.


Govt to streamline visa procedures

ABU DHABI — 22 Aug: The Ministry of Interior has decided to streamline procedures of issuing residency and visit visas and subsequently their renewals.

There will be no increase in charges. This was disclosed by Colonel Mohammed Salim bin Awida Al Khubaili, the Director-General of Department of Naturalisation and Residence in Abu Dhabi.

The move follows the directives of Minister of Interior, Lt-General Saif bin Zayed. In an interview with Khaleej Times, Col. Al Khubaili said that all the transactions would be processed online through the Internet and such a step will save precious time of the applicants who currently have to go through so many stages in the local departments.

Col. Al Khubaili said the new amendments will enable processing of more visa applications, that could not be taken up due to scarcity of time.

He said the next phase is relying on developing the work mechanisms at the General Headquarters. The project will be implemented in coordination with all local departments in the UAE.

He denied any intention to hike the fees for issue of visas, saying that Ministry of Interior is very keen on presenting new and advanced services to the people without any upward revision to the present visa fee structure.

Col Al Khubaili noted that the Ministry of Interior had succeeded in electronically linking the Naturalization and Residency Departments in all emirates of the country. He said the e-linking benefits had become very clear as the applicants are able to get and renew visas from any local department, regardless of the place of issue.

He said the ministry plans to widen its services to include a new service, which relies on issuing visas through the Internet, and the possibility of printing it within a few minutes.


Public unaware of vital role of travel insurance

DUBAI — 22 Aug: The general public lacks awareness on the importance of having a travel insurance, particularly at times of untoward circumstances such as those recently experienced by the commercial aviation industry, an insurance expert told Khaleej Times.

“There is a common misconception that a travel insurance policy is expensive so people opt to travel without it, unless the host countries, like most in Europe, would require them to have one during the visa application process. Contrary to that belief, an insurance is not actually costly,” said M. Musa Al Shawahin, manager of Life of National General Insurance.

For Dh120 to Dh150, said Shawahin, a traveller is already insured for the duration of a one-month trip, while Dh500 would cover a traveller for one year. “We cannot stop people from travelling.

The travel industry is an increasingly growing sector, especially in an aviation hub and cosmopolitan state like Dubai.

However, there is still a lack of public awareness on the importance of having a travel insurance, even if one is travelling to his home country,” Shawahin said.

He explained that insurance companies compensate insured travellers in situations like loss of deposit, baggage or passport; personal accidents; medical expenses; legal expenses; delayed, cancelled, or missed flights.

“Even repatriation and evacuation are covered by insurance. Bottom line is: travellers should consider a travel insurance as a friend in need. When difficult situations arise and they are not insured, they would really feel alone,” the insurance manager added.

Shawahin said that travellers, whether on business or leisure, should be encouraged to avail of a travel insurance policy for their own protection.

“The government should take a lead in requiring insurance companies to create an awareness campaign on the importance of all types of insurance. This is because the insurance companies themselves will not take any step unless they receive a mandatory order from the government,” he pointed out.


New Creek bridge to open by February

Dubai - 22 Aug: Completion of the construction work on the third bridge over Dubai Creek is expected in February next year, as 68 per cent of the work has been finished, officials have said.
The new bridge is part of phase one of the Dh1.85 billion Ras Al Khor road project, to provide uninterrupted flow of traffic along a new corridor connecting the airport tunnel with the first interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The 13-lane bridge will connect Bur Dubai and Al Jaddaf with the now-underconstruction Dubai Festival City and further to Deira. Part of the 1,500-metre-long structure goes over Dubai Festival City, to Rabat Road.There are also three lanes entering Dubai Festival City and another one for traffic from Festival City to Bur Dubai.

The bridge also offers exits to Al Jaddaf, Dubai Healthcare City, Burj Dubai and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Phase one of the project also includes building a tunnel under the intersection of Rabat and Marrakech Roads.

The second phase of the project will see Rabat Road expanded to six lanes with free access to Dubai Festival City.

Nad Al Hammar Road will be expanded to four lanes going south and five lanes in the northern direction. A new interchange will connect Nad Al Hammar Road with Rabat road, providing motorists access to the Airport Tunnel.

Other works in the final phase include a new interchange to connect Al Khail Road, Oud Metha Road and the Zabeel (2) area, and roads connecting Sheikh Rashid and Riyadh Roads to Al Jaddaf.

The Roads and Transport Authority said that once completed, the project will ease traffic flow between Sharjah and Dubai as there will be no traffic lights between the Airport Tunnel and interchange one on Sheikh Zayed Road. (Al Bayan)



Top Stories

Leave a Comment

Title: News headlines

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.