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With sports facilities, free Wi-Fi and even grocery stores within the vicinity, indeed staff accommodation has come a long way since 2009 when the Ministry of Labour introduced a series of regulations that lifted the UAE's employee accommodation benchmarks to be at par with international standards.
By law, each labor camp is required to have a fully serviced 24-hour medical clinic with designated medical experts available round the clock. A maximum of 10 workers can reside per room. For every eight people, a proper bathroom with two toilets and a shower area must be provided.
As construction booms across the UAE, so does the demand for staff accommodation. With many buildings being constructed at the moment, developers have been motivated to build improved staff housing projects.
This surge has raised the average rent of labor camps to nearly double. In 2009, an ordinary accommodation bed was pegged at Dh200 per month; in 2014, it more than doubled to Dh450 per month.
Even the demand for executive staff housing is on the rise as, according to government estimates, approximately 20 percent of the population works in the retail and hospitality industries. Rather than pay rent for workers, many companies now opt to build their own employee accommodation to save money. For example, an airline company is building five residential buildings for crew members as well as 570 villas for senior level employees.
Each emirate has areas where there is a large concentration of staff housing. In Sharjah, it is mostly found in the industrial area. While popular labor camp locations in Dubai include Al Quoz, Jebel Ali, Sonapur and Ras Al Khor, executive employee housing is situated on Shaikh Zayed Road and in new developments such as Dubai Investments Park, Al Khail Gate and Dubai Silicon Oasis. Most worker accommodation in Abu Dhabi is situated in Mussafah with executive employees being housed by their companies in different areas within the city center.
• Al Quoz, Sonapur and Mussafah are popular UAE labor camp areas
• In Dubai, executives are housed in new communities like DIP, DSO
• Reports say many companies now opt to build own staff housing
Source: Saadiya Ahmad, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer