Temporary work permits, which were limited to certain categories of employees, including doctors and engineers, is now open to all workers, a Labour Ministry official said.
"The move means that all workers, who are made temporarily redundant by their sponsors can join other employers for six months, for unlimited times but with different employers each time they change jobs," said the official.
The official added the decision was is in keeping with the ministry's policy to make optimal use of foreign workers in the country and discourage bringing more workers into the country.
"The policy complements similar measures made by the ministry recently such as facilitating sponsorship transfer and the mission visa. Also, the ministry will soon allow the movement of workers between construction companies under certain conditions," the official said.
Previously, temporary work was allowed once to professionals with rare specialisations and for six months.
According to the official, the charges for the transaction will be Dh1,000 for Category A companies, Dh2,000 for Category B and Dh3,000 for Category C.
These charges must be borne by the new employer.
Companies are categorised according to their abidance by emiratisation and other labour rules.
In order for a worker to benefit from the facility he must holds a valid labour card and residence visa and must obtain the approval of the present sponsor.
The move, the official said, will also help the ministry know each company's actual need for workers and whether some companies would apply for more work permits while they allowed their workers to temporarily join other employers.
The official said the move was different from the temporary work permit which is granted only once for six months to workers who are in legal dispute with their employers.
"These permits are granted on a case by case basis ... they are not an absolute right for workers in dispute with their employers. Each case is studied thoroughly and the decision to grant permits is taken on the basis of its merits," the official said.
The decision by the ministry to issue temporary labour permits to workers in dispute with their employers is cautiously welcomed by human resource experts.
"The ministry should speed up settlement of disputes and be firm with recalcitrant employers rather than issuing temporary work permits. Usually uncooperative and unscrupulous employers take advantage of an employee's adverse financial condition by creating delays. They deliberately fail to show up before the ministry, hoping the workers will accept any offer rather than their legal entitlement," said Dr Naeem Al Zunfuly, a Dubai-based human resource consultant.
Employee should get employer's consent
• Workers should have a valid labour card and residence visa and must obtain approval from the present sponsor to switch jobs.
• The charges for the transaction will be Dh1,000 for Category A companies, Dh2,000 for Category B and Dh3,000 for Category C. These charges must be borne by the new employer.
• The move will also help the ministry to know each company's actual need for workers and whether some companies would apply for more work permits.