Abu Dhabi to Dubai highway affected by employment law change

Published:  27 Dec at 6 PM
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The infamous Abu Dhabi/Dubai highway’s treacherous driving conditions may be permanently affected by a new law prohibiting public service workers from living outside the borders of Abu Dhabi.

The length of the road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi combined with its sudden fogs and sandstorms make it one of the world’s most dangerous highways, particularly during rush hours when it’s crowded with Dubai residents rushing to get to work in Abu Dhabi. The situation is due for radical change next year, when a new Abu Dhabi law will compel workers to live inside Abu Dhabi or forfeit their housing allowance.

The law, said to reduce the carnage on the highway, is expected to affect over 23,000 government workers and their families, but will hit hardest on expat employees who prefer to live in Dubai for its cheaper rent and more cosmopolitan culture. More than 50 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s public sector employees are from the expat community, with many having children settled in Dubai schools.

Housing allowances for expat workers often add up to around 50 per cent of their total monthly salaries, with a refusal to relocate meaning a 50 per cent loss in income, unsustainable for most expat workers due to the emirate’s rising cost of living. Many view the move as an attempt to stimulate Abu Dhabi’s sinking property market, hit hard by the economic crisis, and believe the policy may backfire when expat workers leave for jobs in Dubai rather than moving to the opposite end of the highway.
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