'Can a company stop me from accepting a new job if I am working on a visit visa?'

The UAE Labour Law requires foreign employees to have a valid working visa and residency

Abu Dhabi - 12th July  ,  2008 - A photograph of the top of my UAE Visa to go with A story Karen Attwood is doing on visas   ( Andrew Parsons  /  The National )

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I arrived in Dubai on a visit visa and found a job. I have worked for one month on the visit visa but the company is not in a good position and I have been offered another job.

If I accept the new job, can the current company take any action against me? Can they stop me from working or send me home? NL, Dubai

In the UAE, it is illegal to work on a visit or tourist visa. By the time an employee starts working, the employer should, at the very least, have applied for a residency visa and work permit. Any company that takes on staff without a visa can be fined up to Dh50,000 and face issues in securing visas in the future if they are reported for this action.

The person who works without a visa has no protection under the UAE Labour Law and can also be fined and potentially deported.

In this situation, NL has not been legally employed, so he can leave at any time and the company that took him on cannot take any action as it has broken the law. The employer cannot penalise, ban or force NL to leave the country.

It is important that NL only works for a company that arranges the right residency visa and work permit, which will enable him to live and work legally in the UAE under the protection of the Labour Law.

I have a life policy that I took out in the UK before I moved to the UAE. Is this policy still valid, now that I have been in the UAE for a few years? How do I find out? EL, Abu Dhabi

If this is a UK life assurance policy that covers death benefits only, then provided that it was taken out before moving to the UAE and premiums are paid by direct debit from a UK bank account, the policy will be valid in the majority of cases.

It is important to notify the insurance company of your current country of residence and a requirement to do this can be found in the policy's terms and conditions.

I recommend that confirmation of the validity of the life policy is also obtained in writing
Keren Bobker

The situation is often different if a policy includes critical illness cover or other benefits. This is because few insurance companies will provide full and continued cover for anything more than death benefits if you are not a resident of the UK for an extended period.

EL should contact the broker who arranged the policy or the insurance company directly for information. I recommend that confirmation of the validity of the life policy is also obtained in writing.

Anyone who has a UK life policy, particularly one that includes critical illness cover, should notify the insurer that they are no longer a resident in their home country. It would also be wise to check that they are still insured. If the plan is a “whole of life” policy, it is likely that the critical illness part is no longer valid. If it is valid, it will have many restrictions that will make a claim almost impossible.

There is no point paying for a policy that is invalid as a claim cannot be made and dependents will not receive a cash payout. Insurers will always seek to verify a situation in the event of a claim.

Residents in the UAE cannot arrange new life assurance policies with UK-based insurers, so advice should be sought from a regulated UAE adviser for a replacement cover.

I am having problems securing a refund from HSBC and hope you can help. An airline made a refund of Dh2,345 on August 17 to the credit card I used to make a payment but due to fraudulent transactions, this card has since been cancelled and replaced.

As the refund was not credited, I contacted the bank and was told that the new card should not cause a problem and the refund would be picked up and credited to it. I was asked to send an email with details but received a reply saying to use their secure message system. I did this but did not receive a reply.

It has now been six weeks and I still have not received the refund. I tried to make a complaint but am getting nowhere with the bank. DN, Dubai

I passed this query on to HSBC and swift action was taken. DN was contacted and received the refund in her account two days later.

A spokeswoman for the bank said: “We take every customer complaint seriously and have taken this opportunity to review and improve our internal process. We have apologised to the customer and we are pleased that we were able to resolve the matter.”

DN is delighted that The National was able to get her problem resolved.

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: October 23, 2021, 5:00 AM