‘Is it legal to hire a part-time employee?’

A person can work for more than one company at the same time, provided both organisations are aware of the situation

The laws in the UAE about part-time employees and people taking on second jobs have become more flexible in recent years. Alamy
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I run a small business and want to take on someone for a few hours a week to help out in the office. I have found someone but she already works three days a week for another company. She is under that company’s sponsorship but they are OK with her taking on another part-time job. I checked this with the company.

What should I do to make sure this is fully legal and ensure that the employee is not doing anything wrong? BN, Dubai

The laws in the UAE about part-time employees and people taking on second jobs have become more flexible in recent years. So, it is legal for a person to work for more than one company at the same time, provided both employers are aware of the situation.

For the new employee to be taken on legally, BN’s company will need to meet specific criteria. He will need to check that the proposed employee has a current work permit and obtain a letter of no objection from the existing employer. He will then need to obtain a part-time work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation or the relevant free zone authority.

I have been working for a company for one year but my husband is my sponsor. He gave me a letter of no objection, which I passed on to my company. However, they have yet to issue my work permit. Does that make my job illegal? HB, Ras Al Khaimah

A wife who is sponsored by her husband is permitted to work in the UAE. Even if her visa states “housewife – not permitted to work”, she can do so if her husband provides a letter of no objection to the employer.

The company does not have to provide a visa but must instead apply for a work permit, commonly known as a labour card. Physical cards are no longer issued but the employer is obliged to make a proper application for a work permit by following due process.

This involves making an application to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, usually at a Tas’heel centre. The fee is lower when compared to obtaining a visa for an employee under a company’s sponsorship.

In addition, both parties should sign a contract of employment and the employee should receive a copy of it.

A wife who is sponsored by her husband is permitted to work in the UAE if he provides a letter of no objection to the employer
Keren Bobker

Unless the employer applies for a work permit, an employee will be working illegally and both parties can be subject to a fine. As the work permit is only recorded online, HB should check with the ministry or her local Tas’heel office to see if there is a proper record of her employment.

My visa was cancelled on July 20. Can I stay in the UAE until September 1 without incurring a fine? On what date can I leave the UAE and what happens if I overstay?

If I cannot find another job, I want to go back to the Philippines but there are currently no flights operating to that country. DL, Abu Dhabi

Once an employment visa has been officially cancelled, a person has a 30-day grace period and must exit the UAE before this expires to avoid fines for overstaying illegally.

In this case, DL should leave the UAE on August 19. If someone overstays, either as they have not arranged to leave or a new employment visa is not processed in time, a penalty is payable.

The fine for the first day is Dh125 and then a further Dh25 for each subsequent day. There is also a service fee of Dh100 on exiting the country.

Anyone who significantly exceeds the grace period, for instance by another 30 days or more, could find that they are further penalised and added to an immigration blacklist, which could prevent them from re-entering the UAE at a later date.

As some nationalities cannot travel to their countries now, I understand that immigration is being lenient in certain cases, both in terms of additional time in the UAE and the application of penalties. It is also possible for most former UAE residents to purchase a visitor visa to remain in the country legally. However, the fines for overstaying on a tourist visa are different.

Commercial flights to the Philippines have been suspended due to Covid-19, so travel is extremely difficult. The Philippines Overseas Labour Office, in conjunction with the Philippines Embassy, is operating a number of repatriation flights.

Spaces are limited and preference is given to those who need to return home, such as absconded domestic staff and pregnant women, although other terminated employees can apply. If DL does not secure a new job and visa, he can apply online for a repatriation flight through the Embassy of the Philippines website.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: August 14, 2021, 5:00 AM