Dubai: What are your rights if fired from work? Here are your visa options

Once an employer terminates its employee, the latter is eligible for gratuity if he or she has completed at least one year of service


Ashish Mehta

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Sun 7 Nov 2021, 11:48 AM

Question: I work in a Dubai-based firm as an executive. What are my legal rights if I am made redundant? How is my gratuity calculated?

May I request the firm to retain my visa till I find another job, so that my children can continue their education without having to worry about visa cancellation? If my employers don’t agree, what visa options do I have to ensure that my family stays on in the country, and my children's education remains unaffected?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, we assume that you are employed by a mainland firm based in Dubai. Hence, the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the ‘Employment Law’); the Federal Law No. (6) for 1973 concerning Immigration and Residence as amended by virtue of Law No. (7) of 1985; Law No. (13) of 1996; and Federal Decree Law No. (17) of 2017 (the ‘Immigration Law’) are applicable.

In the UAE, once an employer terminates its employee, the latter is eligible for gratuity if he or she has completed at least one year of service. This is in accordance with Article 132 of the Employment Law, which states: “The employee who has completed one year or more in the continuous service, is entitled to the end of service remuneration at the end of his service. Days of absence from work without pay are not included in computing the period of service, and the remuneration is to be calculated as follows:

1. Twenty-one days’ pay for each year of the first five years of service.

2. Thirty days’ pay for each additional year.

Provided that the entire total remuneration shall not exceed two year's pay.”

The employee is also entitled for cash in lieu of unused annual leaves. The employer needs to bear the air ticket fare of the employee to his/her home country. This is in accordance with Article 79 of the Employment Law and Article 131 of the Employment Law.

Further, you may request your employer not to cancel your residence visa for a certain period until you find a new employment. However, the decision to retain your residence visa is at the discretion of your employer. Article 19 of the Immigration Law states: “Foreigners who have obtained residence license shall be subject to the provisions of Article (11) herein. They must leave the country upon the revocation of their residence permit or the expiration of its term."

The UAE government recently extended the grace period to reside in the country after cancellation of employment visa. It should be noted that currently, an individual may reside in the UAE for a grace period of 180 days once his residence visa is cancelled. However, you may check with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (the ’GDRFA’) if the said order has been implemented.


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Prior to expiry of the grace period, an individual should leave the UAE or change his/her status of stay in the country.

You may also look for other options like freelance residence visa and green visa facilities once your current residence visa is cancelled. However, you may take further advice from GDRFA pertaining to your family residing in the country once your employer cancels your residence visa.

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.

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