Can I visit the UAE after not returning from Pakistan holiday a decade ago?

Keren Bobker helps a reader who wasn't able to return to Abu Dhabi and subsequently breached their work contract.

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I'm a Pakistani and came to Abu Dhabi for work in 2004. I went to Pakistan on vacation in July 2005 and wasn't able to return to the UAE. My employer got angry, sending threatening emails, and after then I never tried to go back even to visit. My residency visa was valid until 2007 and now that passport has also expired. My question is can I come back on a visit visa? I don't want to work, just see family. Is it safe for me? MP, Pakistan

If someone has left the country in this situation and not returned, they will have breached their contract and may have been registered as an absconder. A residency visa expires after six months out of the UAE and may also have been cancelled by the employer.

The only way of checking is to make inquiries to both the Ministry of Labour and the Department of Immigration.

The Ministry of Labour has an inquiry services option on its website ( so that is the best starting point.

Even if someone is listed as being banned from employment, they may still be able to obtain a visit visa.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at