Will I be declared absconding if my employer doesn't cancel work permit?
A confirmation of completion of this project by the client of your employer is not significant here.
Q-I am a software development professional on a limited period employment contract of two years since May 2019. My job agreement specifies that my employment is only till the completion of a particular project of a client I am working for. However, despite the completion of the project - which was confirmed by the said client - my employer has not cancelled my work permit and residence visa. I am concerned that I may be declared an absconder if I leave the UAE without cancellation of my residence visa. Can I file a complaint against my employer for not cancelling my work permit and residence visa?
A-Pursuant to your query, we assume that you are employed by an employer based in the mainland of UAE and therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE (the 'Employment Law'), Ministerial Decree (765) of 2015 on Rules and Conditions for the termination of Employment Relations (the 'Ministerial Decree No. 765 of 2015') and Ministerial Resolution No. (721) of 2006 on Escape Reports Procedures (the 'Ministerial Resolution No. 721 of 2006') are applicable. Further, you have not mentioned whether your job offer letter states that your employment with the employer will be completed upon completion of a particular project with this client; or whether your employment contract registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritsation (MOHRE) contains the clause completion of your employment once the project is completed with this particular client of your employer.
A confirmation of completion of this project by the client of your employer is not significant here. The employer-employee relationship is between you and your employer and such confirmation of completion of project should be confirmed to you by your employer.
It is not clear whether your employer is willing to terminate your employment, or you are keen to leave the employment. However, your employer is bound to pay you the remuneration until you are employed with this employer. Should you wish to terminate your employment contract, you should serve a notice period to your employer. As per the provisions of the Ministerial Decree No. 765 of 2015, it may be noted that an employment relation between an employer and an employee may be terminated when either the employer or the employee terminates the employment contract at any time. This is in accordance with Article 1 (I) (5) of the Ministerial Decree. It may, therefore, be noted that as an employee, you may terminate the employment contract. However, you may be liable for the legal consequences if you do not adhere to the conditions mentioned in Article 1 (I) (4) of Ministerial Decree No. 765 of 2015.
If an employee does not adhere to the notice period mentioned in the employment contract, he may be obligated to compensate the employer by paying remuneration for the number of days for which he has not served the notice period. This is in accordance with Article 119 of the Employment Law.
Based on the aforementioned provisions of the Employment Law and the Ministerial Decree, it may be noted that you may terminate your employment contract by compensating your employer if you terminate the agreement without serving the notice period.
It may be pertinent to note that if you travel outside the UAE prior to the cancellation of your employment visa by your employer, your employer may file a complaint against you stating that you are not in the country which may lead to an escape report being applied against you. This is in accordance with Article 1 of Ministerial Resolution No. (721) of 2006.
If an employee absconds and his whereabouts are not known and if he is later traced in the UAE, he will be detained and deported to his home country upon facing criminal proceedings in the UAE. He shall not be allowed to be employed in the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 11 of Ministerial Resolution No. (721) of 2006, which states: "Any employee whose work relation ended in escape and against whom a final escape circular was issued shall be permanently deprived of working in the State in accordance with the provision of this resolution."
Know the law
Where either the employer or the employee fails to serve a notice of termination on the other or reduces the period of notice, the party obliged to give the notice shall pay the other party a 'compensation in lieu of notice'
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: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.