NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
NOC must for job change
DUBAI — Jul 19: Workers seeking transfer of sponsorship will now have to furnish a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the previous company, a senior official of the Ministry of Labour announced yesterday.
“The condition of acquiring an NOC was re-introduced seven months ago. It had been in place previously but was discontinued early last year.
“Without the NOC, the employee will have to take a forced break of six months.
“In other words, the worker will be banned from working for six months.
“With the NOC in hand, the worker or his new sponsoring company can approach the authorities concerned to regularise his status,” said Humaid bin Deemas, assistant undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour.
“We can say the NOC is the green light for starting the series of procedures for a new work permit. If the worker starts his job with the new company without the NOC he will be subjected to a one-year ban,” said Bin Deemas.
“When an employee finds a new job opportunity and wants to quit his current job he will have to first approach the typing office at MoL with an application of transfer of sponsorship.
“The fees of this application depends on the applicant’s profession and the category of the new company,” he explained.
Bin Deemas added: “The ministry’s approval of the request is to be followed by the approval of the ex-sponsor, which implies the NOC.
“Then the applicant should go once again to MoL to pay Dh5,000 fee for transfer of sponsorship and apply for a new labour card.
“The new sponsoring company has to bear these expenses.”
“After the results of the medical test, MoL transfers the employee’s file from the old company to the new one.
“It also sends a letter of notification to the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department,” he pointed out.
The MoL official, however, noted that the NOC was not restricted to a particular category of workers.
He also made it clear that the applicant seeking sponsorship transfer won’t have to leave UAE. “Only when the labour card is cancelled and no job opportunity is available, the person in question has to leave within 30 days.
“Otherwise, he will be considered an illegal. Within that 30-day deadline if the person finds a job and wants to stay in the country he can pay the so-called departure fee. It spares him from going out of UAE.”
Bin Deemas further said that a visit visa holder could also convert his visa into an employment visa after paying the departure fee.
Dubai is a bachelor’s paradise, as long as they stay out of villas
Dubai - Jul 19: Bachelors can live in any part of Dubai provided their home is an apartment and not a villa, a senior municipality official said yesterday. The announcement was made to clarify the law following complaints and inquiries about the rules relating to bachelor accommodations in Dubai.
Dubai Municipality has intensified its inspection rounds against bachelors living in villas with immediate eviction orders and fines as high as Dh50,000.
Engineer Omar Mohammed Abdul Rahman, Head of the Building Inspection Section, said the primary reason for the evictions from villas was because of an increasing number of protests from neighbouring families.
“Every day we receive about 20 complaints from families mostly residing in villas,” he said. “Our policy is very clear. No bachelors will be allowed to live in villas in any part of Dubai. Whereas nobody will restrict them from renting out an apartment in any part of the emirate. The restriction covers all nationalities and is targeted at groups of men living together in villas.
“If we receive a complaint against a married man living alone in a villa then he will also be evicted,” said Abdul Rahman. The municipality was forced to enforce the order because of unauthorised building work inside villas to accommodate extra bachelors. “None of these constructions are approved by the municipality.
“And so unauthorised electricity connections for air conditioners and other equipment results in tripping and other problems.” Bachelors have been evacuated from 1,800 villas in a number of areas including Rashidya, Jaffiliya and Buheira.
“We have dispatched inspectors to various locations asking them to immediately issue eviction orders to bachelors found living in villas.
“The water and electricity connections to the building are cut off. No leniency is shown since awareness campaigns have been carried out for more than two years.” If the municipality found that a company hired a villa for married employees living with their wives but instead let it out to bachelors then the firm would have to pay the fine. The trade licence of the company could also be cancelled, said Abdul Rahman. A study carried out by the municipality found that most violations occurred in villas where up to 50 people were living in space intended for just ten.
Dubai - Chaos in court
Dubai - Jul 19: A teenager charged with sexual assault went beserk in court yesterday launching a furious assault on police and hurling a tirade of abuse.
It needed five police officers to restrain the man as he tried to leap from the dock and attack the CID officer who arrested him. The 18-year-old Emirati, who was appearing in court charged with two sexual assaults after breaking into women's homes at night, screamed at the judge “hang me now or I will commit suicide”. 7DAYS witnessed the incredible scenes at the Court of First Instance yesterday morning along with the defendant's mother and sister who had been in court to support him.
Chaos broke out when the CID officer who had arrested the suspect, identified as GA, was brought into court to give his evidence. The defendant, who was not handcuffed, began screaming at the officer claiming he was assaulted when being arrested in order to make him confess.
While screaming abuse he lunged at the officer attempting to hit him while trying to clamber out of the dock. Five police officers inside the court then restrained him before he was led back to his cell on the direction of the judge. Proceedings were then suspended and the case has now been adjourned until later this month.
One officer told 7DAYS: “The man went crazy. We weren't expecting it, as things like this don't normally happen. But we managed to contain him. We told him to behave as his mother was in the court witnessing his behaviour.” According to the prosecution, earlier this year GA broke into a stranger's house in the middle of the night armed with a knife and clambered into bed with a sleeping woman while her husband was away from home.
She awoke to find a man holding a knife to her stomach demanding money. The victim gave him some cash before he fled. In a separate case on the same night, he is alleged to have broken into the home of a Saudi woman wearing a mask, again carrying a knife.
The 27-year-old victim told police that the man tried to rape but couldn’t. The accused attacked her with the knife injuring her legs and hands before fleeing. The woman identified her attacker after being shown photographs of possible suspects and the man was arrested at his home the following day.
Dubai - Drug dealer arrested
Dubai - Jul 19: An Iranian expat who tried to sell 570 grammes of heroin on the streets of Dubai has been arrested after an undercover police sting operation. Detectives were alerted to their suspect following an anonymous tip-off and sent an undercover officer to negotiate a price for the quantity of drugs.
After a series of phone calls between the two men, they met in a car in Deira to conduct the deal. As the men were discussing the sale of the drugs, police watching the area made their arrest. They found the heroin hidden in a woman’s stocking inside the vehicle.
The man has been charged with possession of heroin and dealing in the drug.
Authority gets tough on bad food outlets
Abu Dhabi - Jul 19: A food factory has been closed down for breaking public health safety regulations.
A company dealing with foodstuffs, and two meat shops, were temporarily shut following inspections by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. The closures came as 6,418 food outlets, groceries and factories were examined by the authority last month.
Fifty-three complaints about businesses were received from the public.
“We close outlets, companies and factories dealing with food when they breach our regulations,” said Communications and Information Department Manager Mohammed Jalal Al Reyaysa.
“They will be closed for a certain period of time, depending on the extent of the problem. Once the problem is solved and all the regulations are adhered to, we allow them to operate again. In cases where we see no improvement at all the authority cancels violating firms’ licences and refers them to the court.
“Our emphasis is on public health safety. We also want the public to be vigilant with regard to health safety measures adopted by food outlets and groceries.
“They must tell the authority when they come across shops where food storage methods are bad or if perishable food is being transported in open pick-ups and trucks.” The authority issued 2,462 warnings to food establishments – including 47 restaurants in hotels – ordering them to improve their health safety standards. And 116 fines were imposed last month for breaches of regulations.
The authority destroyed 1,678kgs of unhealthy food including 1,526kgs of meat.
In addition to renewing 926 licences, the authority in the same period authorised the opening of 58 new food outlets, bakeries, cafés, confectionaries, supermarkets, groceries, a factory, butcheries and other related establishments.
And 245 permits for food transporting vehicles were issued. Under the authority’s regulations, food may be transported only in vehicles that meet certain standards.
Al Reyaysa said the total amount of food entering Abu Dhabi last month was 78,037 tonnes, including 7,273 tonnes of mutton, beef, chicken and fish.
Sewage-hit workers can breathe easy now
DUBAI — Jul 19: The ordeal of several thousand workers in Al Quoz living under terrible conditions for over four days — with sewerage water flooding the streets and their camp premises — ended yesterday after the real estate company arranged for tankers to collect the waste water and transport it to the sewage treatment plant in Al Awir.
The affected workers living in 28 labour camps located near Madina Supermarket heaved a sigh of relief after the sewerage water leak was checked following the intervention by Dubai Municipality and the real estate company getting it transported quickly in private tankers.
A senior official of Dubai Municipality said: “We had sent some inspectors to the place to investigate the matter. They talked to the residents of the labour camps. We are in touch with the company.”
According to the workers, the stench emanating from the accumulated sewerage water and the stagnant water made life difficult for them besides posing health hazards.
“The camp premises was cleared of the stagnant sewerage water yesterday,” said Muraleedharan, a worker.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ajay Bhaskar, an official of Humaid Al Suwaidi Real Estate Company, which leases the labour camps to various contracting companies, said, “the problem started as the tankers collecting sewage water were delayed.”
Waterbuses likely to operate from August
DUBAI — JUL 19: The waterbus service, officially launched on Sunday, will be open to commuters only by next month, it was learnt.
A senior official of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) yesterday confirmed the delay of the waterbus service on the Dubai Creek, saying it was due to technical reasons.
Khalid Al Zahed, director of Maritime Projects Department at the RTA, said the waterbuses were currently being tested and would be allowed to ply in the creek only after a foolproof check.
“The waterbuses will be plying along the Dubai Creek from next month. At present we are in the process of carrying out checks and re-checks to ensure their safe run,” he said.
The official added: “Safety of the commuters is RTA’s top priority. We want to first make sure that these buses are risk-free.”
Zahed added that a total number of 12 buses would be operating in the Creek on five different routes.
Meanwhile, staff at waterbus station at Al Seef said several people were coming every day to enquire about the waterbuses.
13 held for bootlegging
ABU DHABI — JUL 19: Thirteen people have been arrested for allegedly possessing and trading in illicit liquor, official sources told Khaleej Times yesterday. Police recovered 55 cartons of beer and some cases of whiskey from their pickup van.
Eleven of the suspects were rounded up last Saturday night in Bida Zayed in the Western Region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Two more were later rounded up in Ajman.
All the arrested men have been referred to the Public Prosecution which will interrogate them today, the sources added.
Search for his missing brother ends in hospital
DUBAI — JUL 19: For the past 12 days, Rakesh Yadav, an Indian national from Uttar Pradesh, had been running from post to pillar to locate his missing brother. Finally, his desperate search ended in Rashid Hospital yesterday evening where he found his mentally unstable brother, 28-year-old Laxmi Sankar.
For Rakesh, the trauma began on July 7 when he received a phone call from the roommates of Sankar informing he was missing.
“Sankar has been working with a contracting company in Sonapur for the past three years. He has been suffering from psychiatric problems and doctors had advised to send him back to India for treatment. But the company was reluctant to cancel his visa,” said Rakesh.
“Sankar’s roommates informed me they had last seen him sitting outside the camp before he went missing. When I enquired his whereabouts with his company officials, they said they had no information. I went to the Al Qusais Police Station to file a missing complaint, but the police officials said only the company could file the complaint,” Rakesh said.
Tired after days of search for his brother, with colleagues and common friends in Dubai and neighbouring emirates, they finally located him. “Yesterday, some of my relatives found him in Rashid Hospital. I have been receiving persistent telephone calls from my parents and Sanker’s wife enquiring about him,” Rakesh said.
The police had found Sankar wandering on the streets in Sonapur without legal documents. Since he appeared to be mentally unfit, the police admitted him to Rashid Hospital for treatment, his brother said, adding: “Sankar now appears to be in a better health. He’ll fly to India upon cancellation of his visa.”
Pvt schools warned against fee hikes
DUBAI — JUL 19: The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has warned all private schools in the emirate against unauthorised hikes in ancillary fees related to services, supplies and facilities (i.e. transportation, uniforms, textbooks, etc.) for the new academic year.
A letter to this effect was issued recently by Dr Abdullah Al Karam, chairman of the Board of Directors and director general of KHDA.
The letter reminded schools of the March 2007 deadline for the announcement of fee hikes. Schools are required to justify any additional charges based on the cost of services, and fees must be announced and fixed prior to the commencement of student registration. The Authority reserves the absolute right to approve or reject any fee increases announced prior to school registration in the event they are deemed abusive, unjustified or arbitrary.
Dispelling rumours about unauthorised increases in ancillary fees by some private schools, Al Karam said: “Our role in the Authority is to set and implement policies which ensure fair treatment of students and parents, while also supporting the needs of private schools. We understand that this is a difficult equation. It’s a challenge to protect all parties - school owners, students and their parents.”
He added: “The policies declared earlier this year were clear. We looked very carefully at the other fees imposed by schools to make sure they would not be used as a way to circumvent the policy set by the Authority.”
Jameela Al Muhairi, executive director of the private education sector at the Authority commented: “I wish to inform private schools that the fee policy of the Authority was the result of comprehensive research and consultations with all stakeholders in the educational process, including parents and school owners, as well as being in line with international best practices in education. We are dismayed by these rumours about fee increases after registration and will respond firmly to abuses.”
She added: “Those who attempt to raise fees now should recall that last March, 14 schools applied to raise fees in a manner we deemed unjustified and that their requests were denied. We now say to all private schools in Dubai that no fee increases, announced now, for the coming school year will be permitted.”
The regulation of school fees was one of the first policies issued by the Authority. The Authority is now monitoring the implementation of this policy to ensure that fee structures help ensure the provision of better educational opportunities for residents in Dubai.