The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) issued work permit fines to 52,765 organisations last year.

That meant a total of 141,000 fines for incomplete work permit registration or late renewals were issued in total.

"The number of fines equates to 15 per cent of companies recorded within the ministry’s database, which confirms the majority's abidance to set laws and regulations,” said Saif Al-Suwaidi, under-secretary of human resources.

“Nonetheless, those who failed to adhere are advised to approach the ministry and pay the reduced sums following the cabinet’s recent decree to cut all fines to Dhs2,000 per worker.”

Al-Suwaidi was referring to a recent shift in legislation, which capped potential work permit fines for employers. Until now, fines were Dhs500 per employee for each month of delay, with no limit. Now the fine is Dhs100 per day, up to a maximum of Dhs2,000. However, until an organisation pays the money it owes, it will not receive any further work permits.

The MOHRE has also announced a mandatory summer midday break for labourers across the country, running from 15 June until 15 September. The law bans most labourers from working in direct sunlight between 12.30pm and 3.30pm and requires companies to provide shade and water.

Last year, the government announced that organisations in the UAE could replace unused work permits free of charge, as long as the request falls within the six-month time limit. Previously, if a potential new employee turned down a job, the work permit had to be cancelled at a cost borne by the company. Now, if an employer finds a candidate within six months, the new permit is issued for free.

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