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UAE: Is it legal to retain visa after employee completes notice period?

Labour law provisions specify hefty fines for misuse of work permits



By Ashish Mehta

Published: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 10:28 AM

Last updated: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 4:20 PM

Question: I work in a company in mainland Dubai. If I resign, can I request my company to retain my visa? Can they extend it once it expires, if we both agree? How long can they continue doing this?

Response: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Employment Law'), the provisions of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 Concerning the Executive Regulations of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of employment Relations (the ‘Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022’) and Federal Decree Law No. 29 of 2021 Concerning Immigration and Residence (the ‘Immigration Law’) are applicable.

It should be noted that when an employee resigns, s/he should serve a notice period which is stipulated in the employment contract. This is in accordance with Article 43 (1) of the Employment Law, which states: “Either party to an Employment Contract may terminate the contract for good cause, by giving the other a notice in writing. The employee shall perform his duties during the notice period agreed upon in the contract, provided that the notice period is not less than 30 days and not in excess of 90 days.”

Once you complete your notice period, the employer may cancel your work permit and UAE residence visa. Upon cancellation, the relationship between you and your employer shall cease to exist.

You may request your employer not to cancel your UAE residence visa. But the decision to retain it is at the discretion of your employer. However, you and your employer may have to face legal implications such as imposition of huge fines by relevant authorities in the UAE if your work permit and residency visa is not cancelled promptly after you complete your notice period.

This is in accordance with Article 60 (2) of the Employment Law, which states: “Shall be sentenced to a fine of not less than Dh50,000 and not more than Dh200,000, whoever, uses work permits for purposes other than those for which they are issued."

Further, if you resign from your employment, the employer may not renew your employment contract, as just renewing for the sake of issuing you with an UAE residence visa is contrary to the Employment Law. The employers while renewing an employment contract needs to follow the procedures laid down in Article 7 of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022.

It is illegal to employ an individual without a work permit in the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 25(1) & (2) of the Immigration Law, which states: “(1) A fine of Dh50,000 shall be imposed on anyone who has used or accommodated a foreigner in violation of the provisions of this law. The penalty shall be imprisonment and a fine of Dh50,000 in case of the offence is repeated.

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(2)Any person who has recruited a foreigner for purpose of employment under the provisions of this law and has not employed him or allowed him to work for third parties without following the prescribed legal procedures shall be punished by the same penalty prescribed in clause (1) of this Article. In all cases, the fine shall be enumerated by the number of violators.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, it is recommended that you request your employer to cancel your work permit and UAE residence visa once you complete your notice period to avoid any legal implications.

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: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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