News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Unskilled workers must learn English to work in the UAE

Dubai: 7 Sept.: Unskilled labourers wishing to work in the UAE are required to have basic English language skills and knowledge of the country's rules.

Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi, Minister of Labour, told Gulf News on Wednesday that the ministry is going to implement the two new pre-conditions, but did not give a time-frame.

"A special committee at the labour ministry will be set up in each country to determine the workers' English language skills. Information booklets on rules will be available in the respective ministries in order to educate workers who are about to start work in the UAE," said Dr Al Kaabi.

Workers who cannot prove that they have English language skills cannot work in the UAE. This new rule will not be applicable to workers from the Arab region, and will mainly apply to the Asian workforce.

Dr Al Ka'abi is planning to tour Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines after Ramadan to sign labour exchange agreements with these major countries that export manpower to the country.

"During the tour, a mechanism and regulations to bring over labour force will be determined," said Dr Al Ka'abi.

He is studying a proposal on how to organise the labour force flow into the UAE.

According to the proposal, workers will only be able to obtain work in the UAE through recruitment offices that are accredited by the Ministry of Labour here and work under the supervision of the concerned bodies in their home country.

Dr Al Ka'abi said he is expecting to have a final draft of the new rules by the end of this year if the meeting with those countries goes as planned and they are able to reach mutual agreements. Meanwhile, a labour exchange agreement between the UAE and Thailand is to be signed, according to Dr Al Ka'abi.

Dr Al Ka'abi told Gulf News that the UAE is planning to import skilled workers from Thailand, but did not specify the number.

"The exact numbers of how many workers are to be brought over are still not determined, but the import of the workers will be according to the new rules we are about to implement," he said.


Abu Dhabi residents' health cards to be valid for 4 months

Abu Dhabi: 7 Sept: Residents here will be issued health cards with a four-month validity as of September 10, according to a health official.

In line with the Health Insurance Law No 25/2006 in Abu Dhabi, which would be applied in two stages, the validity of health cards issued to non-nationals would be amended from one year to four months, until all residents are provided with private health insurance, said Ali Al Gumzi, director of the Financial Department at the General Authority of Health Services.

Health card fees were adjusted according to the new validity period, and would be Dh100 for adults over 18 years old, Dh65 for children between 10 and 18, and Dh35 for children under 10 years. Validity period starts from the day of issuance.


Cars will be confiscated for jumping red lights

Dubai - 7 Sept.: Dubai traffic police have pledged to closely monitor the cameras placed at nearly all traffic signals in the emirate as they look to clamp down on drivers who jump red lights.
Brigadier Essa Aman, Acting Director General of Dubai Traffic Police Department, said those caught will be called up and asked to come to the department.

“Those who jump the red traffic light are caught doing so either by a police officer at the scene or through the cameras.They will be told to come and surrender their vehicles,” Aman said.

He pointed out that in August alone, more than 4,176 fines for jumping red lights were issued, and added that his department started implementing the new set of punishments on August 29.

“We have been working on this new punishment system for those who jump lights since last month.

The punishment for first time offenders will be a fine of Dh500 and confiscation of the vehicle for one week; the second time will be confiscation of vehicle for two weeks; the third time the vehicle will be confiscated for three weeks, and if [the offence] repeated after that, the motorist will go to court,” he said.

He added that earlier, policemen were the sole means of distributing these tickets, “but now we have installed electronic cameras to catch the violators”, he added.


Minister himself to sit at Labour ministry’ s counters twice a week

DUBAI — 7 Sept: The Minister of Labour Dr. Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi, beginning next week, will personally sit at the public counters of the ministry’s offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi twice a week.

The undersecretary and the assistant undersecretaries will also be present on both days during these visits — alternating between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, according to official sources.

The move is part of an initiative to directly look into the complaints of various applicants and to respond accordingly and provide instant solutions. As for more complex complaints, they will be referred to authorised bodies and departments concerned for priority consideration.  Dr. Al Ka’abi discussed this notion with some close officials yesterday, and according to an informed source, it was agreed that it was important at times to deal transparently and directly with public complaints without any mediators.

It is also expected that an assistant undersecretary of labor affairs will soon be appointed in Abu Dhabi, according to sources.The Labour Minister had secured a cabinet approval for this proposal over a month and a half ago and the ministry is now awaiting the issuance of a decree.

The sources also disclosed that the MOL has drafted a new organisational structure plan - involving the appointment of an  undersecretary and six assistant undersecretaries. Two positions for Inspection assistant undersecretaries and another for Quality and Communications were created accordingly. Besides, the department of administrative and financial affairs has been restructured as the department of resources.

Meanwhile, MoL has prepared a detailed study about its current administrative structure. It includes a description and performance evaluation of its different sections as well, the sources added.


SWIFT network at ATMs hit by glitch

DUBAI — 7 Sept.: Hundreds of people in the UAE trying to withdraw cash from ATMs other than those of their banks, faced a setback when the ATMs declined the transactions yesterday evening.

A RAK Bank staff at the customer service told a frantic caller that the service was disrupted at around 5.30pm for technical reasons as the country’s SWIFT network was down. It is not for security reasons, he stressed.

The caller, a RAK Bank account holder, was trying to get cash at an ADCB ATM  at the Maktoum Hospital.

After inserting the card, he was asked to enter his PIN number, and then to indicate the amount of cash he wanted to withdraw. When he did that, he received a printed paper from the machine stating, ‘Transaction declined...Contact acquirer’.

Considering that he might have made a mistake, he repeated the procedure, but got the same answer.

The bank staff told him that they did not know when the facility would start functioning again. It could take another couple of hours, less than that, or more than that, the staff said.

“Today’s problem is with all the banks. It is not a scheduled check up. It could happen any time, ” the staff said.

The caller was told to get cash from any of the the RAK Bank’s nearest ATM.



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