'Can a company hire a person whose visa has yet to be cancelled?'

The employee must lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, which will cancel the visa on their behalf

An immigration official checks documents of passenger at Dubai Airport. WAM
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We are looking to take on a new employee. Although she has resigned from her previous job and completed her notice period, her visa has not been cancelled, even though she left weeks ago.

This is because her previous employer still hasn’t paid her gratuity in full. Is there any way that we can employ her without her previous visa being cancelled? KV, Dubai

The new UAE labour law specifically states the time frame by which all employees should be paid after leaving a job, although the gratuity should be paid on the last day of service.

“The employer shall pay to the worker, within 14 days from the end date of the contract term, his wages and all his other entitlements stipulated herein,” according to Article 53 of the new law.

It is not possible in this situation to hire the person as a full-time employee, but action can be taken.

The person needs to lodge a complaint against the employer with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Most free zones must now abide by the labour law, but if the person was employed by a free zone company, they will need to contact the main administrative office for the free zone to obtain a no-objection certificate. This NoC letter allows them to register a case with the ministry.

Once a complaint is registered in the system, the ministry can cancel the existing visa so that KV can apply for a new visa and take on the person as an employee.

I live and work in Abu Dhabi. It has been two weeks since my wife’s residency visa was issued but she still does not have health insurance from my company. They attribute this to a delay in getting her Emirates ID card.

My wife is not feeling well and needs to see a doctor urgently. I am not getting any information from my company’s HR department.

What can we do about this? Where can I lodge a complaint? AU, Abu Dhabi

In the emirate of Abu Dhabi, it has been a requirement for employers to provide medical insurance to employees and their dependents since 2006.

“The employer shall undertake to provide health insurance coverage for all his employees/workers and their family members, including an employee’s wife and three children under 18 years of age,” says the legislation.

“Every sponsor shall undertake to provide insurance coverage for those sponsored by him who are not covered by their employers, as of the date of arrival in the state,” it says.

Where an employee is already in the UAE, this can be taken to mean from the first day of employment.

“A non-UAE national may not obtain a residence permit or renewal thereof, nor may he be employed, unless after enrolment into the health insurance scheme,” the legislation says.

What this shows is that the medical cover can be in place before the residency visa is completed and the ID card is issued.

If a company fails to provide legally mandated health cover, they can be fined Dh300 a month for each person who has not been added to the medical insurance plan.

AU needs to remind his employer of their obligations, but if he still does not receive a response, he can lodge a complaint against the employer with the ministry. This can be done by calling 600 590 000 or by using the website or the app. He should then follow up to ensure that the legally required insurance is put in place.

As AU’s wife is unwell, I would recommend speaking to the company’s HR department directly and obtaining their written confirmation that the employer will provide compensation for any medical costs incurred in obtaining treatment if she is not insured.

The employer has a moral and legal obligation regarding this issue.

Quote
If a company fails to provide legally mandated cover, they can be fined Dh300 per month for each person who has not been added to the medical insurance scheme
Keren Bobker, senior partner, Holborn Assets

I heard that the UAE plans to introduce a minimum wage but I can’t find any information about this.

Can you tell me what it is so that I can make sure that my employer is paying all staff in accordance with the law? CH, Sharjah

The introduction of a minimum wage in the UAE has been mentioned.

“The Cabinet may, upon the proposal of the minister and in co-ordination with the concerned authorities, issue a resolution to determine the minimum wage for workers or any category thereof,” according to Article 27 of the new labour law.

However, there has been no public announcement by the government regarding a minimum wage.

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: July 10, 2022, 5:00 AM
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