UAE: Can my employer retain my work visa for some months after I resign?
Know what the law says about visa extensions in the UAE.
Question: I have a two-year visa from my company that will expire in April next year. In case I quit now, can I request my company to not cancel my visa for a few more months? I need some time to get my business venture up and running. Will I face any legal consequences?
Answer: It should be noted that when an employee resigns, he should serve a notice period which is stipulated in the employment contract. This is to be done prior to cancellation of your work permit or employment visa, as applicable. Upon cancellation of your work permit/employment visa, the relationship between an employer and the employee ends.
You may request your employer to not cancel your visa for a few months. However, the decision to retain your visa is at the discretion of your employer. Your employer may, however, have legal implications.
You may request your current employer to issue you an NOC to set up a new business in the UAE while you are already employed. This will enable you to set up a new entity in the UAE and you may submit the said NOC to the relevant economic development authority or a free zone authority under whose jurisdiction you wish to set up the new entity. However, it is up to the discretion of your employer to issue the NOC to you.
Further, Article 19 of 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, states: “Foreigners who have obtained residence licence 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."
However, once an employment visa is cancelled, an individual may reside in the UAE for a grace period of 30 days. Prior to expiry of the grace period, an individual should leave the UAE or change his status of stay within the country.
Based on this, you may stay in the UAE during the grace period once your work permit and residence visa is cancelled by your employer and may set up your new business. If you are not able to set up your new business during this period, you may obtain a visit visa/tourist visa and complete it or provide a power of attorney to anyone of your choice for this purpose in your absence.
For more information regarding the said matter, you may contact the MOHRE and General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
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.
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