'Can I travel outside the UAE during my notice period?'

Under the Labour Law, employers must approve employee requests to take time off work

Dubai International Airport. Employers are required to approve leave requests before a staff member can take time off work. AFP
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I joined a new company and was on probation until I resigned. I now need to travel urgently outside of the UAE. My visa has yet to be cancelled and I cannot wait for this process to be finalised. Will I need some kind of documentation to leave the country or can I leave and come back without issue and continue the cancellation process on my return? AI, Sharjah

All employees — whether on probation, serving out their notice or those in standard employment — need the permission of their employer to take any time off work.

Under the UAE Labour Law, it has been clarified that employees must give notice if they wish to leave service during the probationary period.

Article 9, clause 1, of the law states: “If the worker wishes to move during the probationary period, to work for another employer in the state, he shall notify the original employer of the same in writing within not less than one month from the date of his wish to terminate the contract.”

If someone plans to leave the UAE and not move to another job, the notice period is only 14 days. However, AI states that he plans to return.

If AI is still on probation, he cannot take any time off without the employer’s permission and if he leaves without approval, he can be reported as an absconder, which will lead to a ban.

When an employee leaves service, the employer should cancel a visa immediately. In most cases, the process should take no more than two or three working days.

A cancellation is not always stamped in a passport these days, so AI may find that it has already been cancelled if the notice period has expired. He can check his visa status with his employer, as well as on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

If an employer delays the cancellation of a visa, they should be asked to cancel it immediately or if the delay is excessive, a complaint can be raised with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation or the relevant free zone.

It is unwise to travel when a visa status is being changed as it can lead to issues on re-entering the UAE.

I have received an offer from a Dubai-based organisation for the role of finance manager. While the position is correctly mentioned on the offer letter, HR has said that I will be employed as an archive clerk, according to the official agreement and visa, and it will be changed to finance manager after six months.

Can you please share your views on this and advise if it is safe to accept the role? SKS, India

It is not uncommon for someone to have an occupation shown on their UAE residency visa that is not the same as the job they were hired to do. This can be for various reasons. If someone does not have a degree or suitable higher education qualifications that have been attested, not all job titles are available to them.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has a list of available job titles and sometimes something similar must be selected. Another reason for this is that a company can only offer a visa for certain positions as part of their visa quota. These titles can also vary between public and private sectors and in free zones.

It is unlikely that this will cause a problem. The only time a person could face an issue is if they require a visa to travel to some countries for work and have a passport that does not permit them to receive a visa on arrival as a more junior title can make it harder to obtain a work visa.

Once a residence visa is issued and stamped in a passport or registered with an identity card, the employer cannot simply change this at will. The designation can only be altered with a change of labour contract and a new employment contract will be for a period of three years.

My brother lives in the UK but would like to visit me in the UAE. He has a criminal record for some rather minor offences from when he was a teenager. Last year, his visa request to go to the US was declined. Is he likely to have a problem trying to enter the UAE? He is too worried to visit in case there is a problem. JF, Ras Al Khaimah

I have been advised that when someone enters the UAE on a tourist or visit visa, there are no automatic checks of any past criminal records.

Unless someone is on an Interpol list or wanted on an international arrest warrant, which the UAE has been made aware of, there will be no questions regarding the entry of someone from one of the countries that does not require a pre-arranged visa.

JF’s brother is unlikely to have any problems entering the UAE for a holiday.

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: June 26, 2022, 5:00 AM