Brigadier Dr. Rashid Sultan Khoder Al Zaabi, official spokesperson of Naturalization, Residency and Ports at the Ministry of Interior, announced that the new and amended unified contract for domestic workers came into effect as of June 1st.
According to Brigadier Al Zaabi, the new unified and amended contract guarantees the rights and interests of both domestic workers and their employers and defines the obligations of the contracting parties, especially in light of the new measures adopted by the Ministry of Interior for hiring domestic workers. This measure aims to enhance transparency, ensure legal protection, streamline procedures and reduce time and effort. It is also designed to strengthen the work relationship and ensure its stability, in order to prevent all forms of fraud and exploitation.
Brigadier Al Zaabi added: “The committee in charge of drafting the new unified contract was keen to assess the previous contract and its impacts on the contracting parties. This has yielded an improved format by which the responsibilities of both two parties are determined in full transparency. By virtue of the new contract, the ministry would directly supervise the contract and have it approved by the General Directorates of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, ultimately terminating the old contract procedures, which required two different copies to be signed by both contracting parties (the employer and the domestic worker) and ratified respectively by the Embassy of the Philippines and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.”
He added that “double contracts” are in contradiction of the legal rules, principles and international standards, which stipulate full transparency and clarity of the contracts and define responsibilities. This would not be valid with two separate contracts with different conditions and terms.
Moreover, Brigadier Al Zaabi pointed out that only the contract approved by the competent government agencies in the UAE will be valid, with a view to protect the rights of both workers and their employers, the citizens and residents wishing to hire workers through the recruitment agencies.
“During the preparation phase of the new unified contract, the Committee was keen to consult with the embassies of labor-sending countries, so as to collect their views and opinions and take them into account upon finalizing the contract and approving it. This would ensure the highest level of legal protection for domestic workers and prevent their exploitation,” added Brigadier Al Zaabi.
Brigadier Dr. Rashid Sultan Khoder Al Zaabi also indicated that the concerned embassies welcomed the committee’s initiative and submitted their observations with the exception of the Embassy of the Philippines. Contrary to all expectations, the Philippines refused to deploy domestic workers to the UAE unless they sign employment contracts in their home countries first. This procedure is contrary to diplomatic norms and laws in force in world countries, which are touted as a reference for employment contracts; not to mention that ratifying those contracts do not fall within the competence of embassies.
In conclusion, Brigadier Al Zaabi reiterated the Ministry of Interior’s willingness to provide the Republic of the Philippines Embassy and other concerned embassies with the unified contracts signed by their nationals, following their ratification by the directorates general of residency and foreigners affairs, in accordance with the applicable procedures. Moreover, he pointed out that the ratification of domestic workers’ unified contract by both the concerned authorities in the UAE and the embassies of labor-sending countries is contrary to internationally applicable standards, which stipulate the need to observe the laws of the workers’ country of employment and that the relevant government entities have direct supervision over such contracts.