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JAFZA visa: Gratuity, ticket as per Labour Law

Compiled by Ahmed Shaaban (Legal View) / 1 June 2008

Q.1 I work for my employer's two new companies opened recently one in Dubai and the other in Jebel Ali Free Zone. I am the manager who runs the show in both units although my work visa is issued by JAFZ. I have worked for two-and-a-half years.

Over some arguments, my service was terminated over the phone. I have not been given any letter of termination. I would like to know about my gratuity entitlement. What would be my notice period? What about the return tickets for me and my family? What about freight charges, as I would like to send my furniture back home? May I join another company here?

A.1 From your letter, I understand that you were working for two new companies of your employer which were based in Dubai, one of which is in JAFZ. The Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) issued your employment visa and therefore you are obliged to follow the rules and regulations of the free zone. You are entitled to get gratuity as per the UAE Labour Law provided your service was not terminated for any of the reasons stated in Article 120 of the Labour Law. Your notice period shall be considered according to the rules and regulations of JAFZA or as mutually agreed upon between the employer and the employee.

At the end of the contract, you are entitled to a ticket to go back to your country. The tickets for your family and the freight charges to send your belongings home are up to the discretion of the employer or depend on the agreement between your employer and you. In this regard, the law states that "the expenses of the repatriation of the employee mean the cost of his travel ticket as well as what the labour contract or the regulations of the establishment stipulate regarding the right of the employee to the travel expenditure for the employee's family and the cost of shipping of his belongings".

If your service has been terminated by your employer and you have requested the company to relieve you, you can produce a copy of the termination letter as well as the relieving letter to the authorities concerned. Once your employer completes the visa cancellation procedures, you can join any other company.

Firm must not demand letter stating staff borrowed money

I have worked as a painter with a company here for the last 11 years. The company was part of a conglomerate. My visa was that of the sister concern of this company but the sponsor of both companies was the same. Due to some misunderstandings between the partners, my company was separated from the group and as a result the sponsorship changed. I am still on the old company's sponsorship but they refused to cancel my visa since I have been working with the separated company from the beginning. The new management is ready to transfer my visa from the old company to the new one provided that I sign a letter stating that I borrowed Dh11,000 and that I will repay them when demanded. This is a precautionary measure since the management does not want to send any worker on cancellation. The management is requesting all the employees to sign such letters if they want to continue with this company. Is there any legal validity for such papers?

A. Under any circumstances, asking employees to sign letters stating that the employee had borrowed certain amount of money without doing so is unlawful. Therefore, your management has no authority to demand such a letter to be signed by employees in order to transfer visa.

Anyhow, in respect to the legal validity of such signed papers, you may note that once you sign such a paper, it has got legal validity. Therefore, the only option opened to you is to refuse to sign any such paper.


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