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File photo of a workers' housing complex in Al Salam Living City in Hameem area of Abu Dhabi emirate. Image used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has linked the granting of new work permits to private sector establishments and companies registered with it, with the need for the facility to provide adequate housing for blue-collar staff, such as construction workers.

The Ministry also stated that it has launched the first national platform for registration of workers’ housing provided by companies. This aims to enhance awareness about the requirements and standards of the Ministry and its governmental partners concerned with monitoring such housing.

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Housing requirements

According to MoHRE, the legislation regarding requirements for workers’ housing includes health standards, cleanliness standards, and various details for the comfort and safety for workers.

Among the rules is that the building be suitable for habitation, made of non-flammable materials, with a signboard bearing the name of the company in Arabic and English; provision of water and electricity and air conditioning systems; adequate lighting; and designated places for washing, cooking and eating.

The requirements also include the presence of sufficient spaces for rest, beds, and clothing for each worker; provision of adequate ventilation; and sanitation, bathroom and hygiene supplies.

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Violations and penalties

The Ministry has identified four types of violations, according to which the granting of new work permits to establishments will be halted.

The first is when the establishment commits any of the violations stipulated in the Cabinet’s decision regarding service fees and administrative fines in the Ministry, with the penalty being administrative suspension of the establishment’s file until the fines due are paid.

The second violation is the facility’s exploitation or misuse of the electronic powers granted to it to access the Ministry’s systems, or enabling others to do so, which results in an imbalance in work procedures. In such cases, the facility’s file will be administratively suspended for a period of six months.

The third violation is the establishment being accused of committing a crime of human trafficking, and the violating establishment is suspended from operations until proven innocent. The suspension continues for two years after a final ruling is issued against the establishment in the event of conviction.

The final violation is the failure to provide workers’ housing in accordance with the provisions of the ministerial decision concerning occupational health and safety. The facility’s file is administratively suspended until adequate housing is provided.