An average of 1,500 work permits and visas are being canceled in Dubai each day as companies lay off employees in the wake of the global financial crisis.
The number is expected to rise in coming months as thousands of labor complaints currently logged at the Ministry of Labor get processed. Adding to that figure will be the thousands of employees who have been made redundant but are searching for other jobs. Many companies have given redundant employees a grace period of two to three months to look for alternative work. Jobs are, however, rare to find with most companies freezing recruitment.
An official from the Ministry of Labor told Arab News that they started seeing a rise in the cancellation of visas in late October. “On some days, we cancel more than 2,000 permits,” he said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ministry is dealing with an unprecedented number of complaints from workers. “The ministry is swamped with complaints from workers who have not been paid, or forced to take unpaid leave or who were fired but not paid their dues. Only after settling their cases can their work permits be canceled,” he said.
At the Ministry of Labor’s Visa Cancellation Section, human resource representatives of companies complain of long queues. “It takes hours to get the cancellation paperwork processed,” Naser Ahmad, an employee for a construction group.
Ahmad, who was carrying 10 passports, said his company started layoffs in September. “Up to now, we have cut down 25 percent of the work force,” he added.
Another employee said his company has already fired 500 of its 5,000-strong work force. “At the moment, the bosses are waiting to see if the situation improves in a few months. If things do not change there will be more redundancies,” he added.