UAE jobs: New visa, reforms to give job-seekers time to negotiate salaries

Six-month grace period after job loss will help residents plan their next career move better


Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 21 Aug 2022, 10:39 AM

Last updated: Sun 21 Aug 2022, 10:37 PM

The new job exploration visa and an amendment to allow a longer grace period for residents with expired visas will help employers and prospective employees, recruitment and human resources experts say.

They believe that a job exploration visa will substantially benefit candidates who work in a profession where there is strong competition as they will be readily available in the market to join immediately.

The UAE has announced a job exploration visa to attract young talents and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities available in the country without requiring a sponsor or a host.

It is granted to those classified in the first or second or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the fresh graduates of the best 500 universities in the world and the minimum educational level should be a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.

The UAE has also amended a law that gives residents “longer flexible grace periods that reach up to six months” to stay in the country after residence permits are cancelled or expired. However, it’s not immediately clear if this applies to all residence types.

Sarah Dixon, managing director of Hays in the Middle East, says the introduction of the new visa will make it easier for job seekers to enter the country to find employment.

“We expect to see more expats coming into the country and basing themselves here while seeking work. Jobseekers that are already settled ‘on the ground’ and are available to meet potential employers are at an advantage. Those based here improve their chances of being interviewed and ultimately hired as it shows commitment to UAE and less ‘risk’ for an employer in comparison to someone currently abroad; therefore putting these jobseekers at the top of the resume pile for selection,” said Dixon.

Salaries, career progression

Moreover, she added that jobseekers will now have more freedom and flexibility to consider their options and make more informed decisions about their new career. They will have more time to consider factors such as salaries, work expectations, the scope of work and career progression, securing the right job and reducing the incidence of “job hopping”.

Dixon added that eligible jobseekers will benefit from the new visa but candidates that work in professions where there is an abundance of talent or lots of competition can get ahead of those applying from abroad / on visitor pass by showing commitment to relocation.

Mayank Patel, country head, Adecco Middle East, the world's leading HR solutions firm, said the introduction of jobseeker visas will make it more simple for people to enter the country to find work.

“It will give that extra time for job seekers to not just prepare themselves well but also have extended time to seek additional support from the choice of employer. This will eventually help in taking the right decision and a longer stay with the organization,” he said.

6-month stay after visa cancellation

Patel added that an amendment in the law that allows expats to stay for six-month after the cancellation or expiry of residence permits will mainly help employees to settle dues and eventually result in less trouble for the financial sector such as banks. “It will eventually give peace of mind to the employees to wrap up more smoothly than in a rush to venture out.”

Sarah Dixon added that the grace period for cancelled visas being extended is certainly a positive as it gives them adequate time to search for a new job. “This extension also benefits the UAE in terms of retaining talent that has the regional experience,” she added.


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