UAE: Can a company force an employee to join work after accepting job offer via email?

KT reader is reconsidering the new offer as the current employer made a lucrative counteroffer


Ashish Mehta

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 8:52 AM

Last updated: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 10:48 PM

Question: I recently got a job offer from a Dubai-based company via email. I replied, saying I accepted the offer. However, my current employer has made a counteroffer to retain me, which I am considering. Can I now decline the job offer given by the other company?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you have received a job offer from a mainland company based in Dubai, and it is further assumed that the said company has issued an offer letter to you in the format stipulated by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Ministerial Decree No. 46 of 2022 regarding Work Permits, Job Offers and Employment Contracts Forms.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

In the UAE, an offer letter may be issued by an employer to an employee in the format stipulated by MoHRE and in accordance with Ministerial Decree No. 46 of 2022. Thereafter, an employer and employee need to sign an employment contract. This is in accordance with Article 2(1) of the Ministerial Decree No. 46 of 2022, which states, “Pursuant to the provisions of the Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations, an employer who wishes to employ someone must abide by the following:

* Utilise the approved standard employment contract that conforms with the job offer when requesting the issuance of the work permit. It is permissible to add more benefits to the employee in the contract than those mentioned in the job offer; it is also permissible to add Annexes to the contract provided that it does not conflict with the provisions of the decree-law and its executive regulations.”

Furthermore, Article 8(1) of the Employment Law states that “The employer shall enter into an employment contract with the employee according to the agreed model of work. The employment contract shall be made in duplicate, on copy to be given to the employer and the other to the employee, in accordance with the templates specified by the executive regulations of this Decree Law."

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, the offer letter issued to you by a company in Dubai may be considered an agreement once you sign and accept the same. However, an offer letter may be an informal agreement and may not be enforceable by law. Whereas, a contract is a formal agreement and is enforceable by law. Thus, all contracts are agreements, but not all agreements are contracts.

Therefore, you may be entitled to decline the job offered by a company in Dubai, and the said company may not force you to be employed with it. This is in accordance with Article 14(1) of the Employment Law, which states "An employer may not use any means susceptible of obliging or forcing the employee, or threatening him with any penalty, to work for him, or forcing him to do a work or deliver a service against his will.”

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


More news from Jobs