OFWs seen to benefit from UAE order on free accommodation
Filipinos and other South Asian workers in the United Arab Emirates are expected to benefit in the new government order for employers to offer free accommodation to workers paid $540 or less per month.
The order is UAE's latest move in the Gulf to address alleged abuses of migrant labor. South Asians make up a large proportion of its foreign workforce.
But the decision, which enters force in December, will only apply to companies that employ more than 50 workers, the human resources and Emiratisation ministry said on Monday.
The UAE and other oil-rich Gulf states are often criticized by human rights groups for their treatment of expatriate laborers.
"Experts spent several months studying the living conditions of those workers, who have been listed in the ministry’s classifications system as low-skilled labourers," Human Resources Minister Saqr Ghobash.
The ministry will carry out regular inspections of the housing that companies provide to their workers to ensure that health and safety standards are met, Ghobash said.
Legal action will be taken against companies that violate the regulations, he said.
Last year, the UAE announced labour reforms aimed at curbing abuses and protecting the rights of millions of foreign workers, including allowing them to terminate their contract and change employer.
Emiratis, who account for barely 10 percent of the UAE's population of nine million, are a small proportion of the workforce compared to Asians.
Kuwait last week set a minimum wage for its hundreds of thousands of mostly Asian domestic workers and granted them other rights. —Agence France-Presse