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Monday, December 4, 2023

Illegal UAE ‘freelance’ visas, salary discrepancies: Why Philippine govt is adding requirements for contract verification

A Filipino domestic worker whose visa says she is a ‘store manager’, and a ‘project manager’ who earns a meagre Dh1,000 a month.

Employment irregularities like these have prompted the Philippine labour office in the UAE to impose new contract verification rules.

However, the new policy – which was supposed to take effect on February 1 — had to be put on hold as many Filipinos in the UAE slammed the additional requirements, thinking they were nothing but an inconvenience, another mountain of red tape.What the expats didn’t know was that the rules were born out of the need to curb illegal employment and activities.

In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Labour Attaché John Rio A. Bautista — who heads the MWO mission in Dubai and the Northern Emirates (formerly Philippine Overseas Labour Office or Polo) — explained the cases that pushed them to intervene.The MWO, previously known as Polo office, had observed several illegal activities in recent times, particularly when it comes to obtaining residence visas.“Some people pay and purchase visas to work in several places,” he said.

“Many of them call it ‘freelancing’. However, this is illegal in the UAE. People who want to freelance must take the legal visa for it.

”Domestic workers, like nannies and housekeepers, cannot apply for the UAE’s freelance visa. In fact, they will have to be hired through a licensed recruitment agency under the latest rulesDespite this policy, the Philippine mission encountered the case of a housemaid who was on a visa of a store manager.

“When we see something like this, we have to dig deeper and ask for additional documents,” Bautista said.Dubai resident Maria Cristina, who is currently looking for a nanny, confirmed that she once had an applicant who claimed that she had her own ‘freelance visa’.

-From a report by Kahleej Times

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