UAE: Can woman sponsored by husband work without changing visa status?

KT reader asks whether she can take up employment, if there are any penalties for doing so under spouse's visa

by

Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 3 Sep 2023, 8:39 AM

Last updated: Sun 3 Sep 2023, 10:33 PM

Question: I live in the UAE under my husband's sponsorship, with a 'housewife' visa. Can I work in a company without changing my visa status? What's the procedure? Is it illegal and are there any penalties?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you wish to take up employment in a mainland company in the UAE. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations, Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations, Administrative Resolution No. 38 of 2022 Concerning the Guidelines for Implementing Ministerial Resolution No. 46 of 2022 regarding Work Permits, Offer Letters and Employment Contract Forms and Federal Decree Law No. 29 of 2021 Regarding Entry and Residence of Foreigners are applicable.


In the UAE, a woman who is residing on her husband’s sponsorship may take up employment. This is in accordance with Article 6(1)(c) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, which states, "Subject to the provisions of Article 6 of the Decree Law, the types of work permit shall be determined as follows:

- Work permit for residents sponsored by their families: This type of permit is issued to residents who are sponsored by their family and employed to work in an establishment registered with the Ministry.”


Moreover, an individual in the UAE needs to obtain a work permit from his or her prospective employer to be employed in the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 6(1) of the Employment Law and Article 5(4) of the Immigration Law. The provisions of aforesaid laws read as below:

Article 6(1) of the Employment Law: “No work may be performed in the UAE, and no employee may be recruited or employed by any employer without obtaining the work permit from the Ministry, in accordance with the provisions of this Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations."

Article 5(4) of the Immigration Law: “An alien is obligated not to engage in any activity or work except in accordance with the legislation in force in the State.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you are eligible to be employed in the UAE. However, you and your prospective employer need to fulfil the guidelines for work permit, offer letter and employment contract procedures mentioned in Administrative Resolution No. 38 of 2022 which may include requirements to apply for a work permit and you may have to provide a NOC letter signed by your husband if required by Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) which your prospective employer may have to submit to MoHRE to obtain a work permit for you. Moreover, if you are employed by an employer in the UAE without obtaining a valid work permit, such employment may be considered illegal and both you and your prospective employer may have to face legal consequences arising out of such employment in the UAE.

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