'Can I hire a part-time maid who says she has her own visa?'

Under the UAE's labour law, it is illegal to directly hire domestic workers on a casual basis

The UAE government has tightened laws governing the employment of 19 categories of domestic workers. Getty
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I am looking to employ a maid/cleaner and have been approached by a woman who has her own visa and is looking for work. She said she arranged the visa through a company and then works for a few families on a part-time basis.

She works part-time for a friend who says I could also use her. It seems a little odd — is this legal? MV, Dubai

There are strict rules in the UAE that govern the employment of 19 categories of domestic workers, including housemaids, cleaners, personal drivers, cooks and housekeepers.

The new regulation, which came into effect in December 2022 under Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2022 Concerning Domestic Workers, has tightened in recent years to protect these jobs.

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Watch: New UAE labour laws come into effect

Domestic workers can only be employed via an agency or be sponsored as a direct employee, but only if the sponsor meets specific requirements such as a salary of Dh25,000 per month.

The sponsored employment must also be arranged via a government-licensed agency and standard contracts of employment must be used.

It is illegal to employ any domestic worker who claims to have their own visa, or anyone who is under the sponsorship of another resident.

This means that a domestic worker cannot work part-time for anyone other than their sponsor unless they are agency staff employed via a registered company on an hourly basis.

The fines for breaking the law are significant and are clarified in the latest legislation, which states: “A fine of at least AED 50,000 (Fifty Thousand Dirhams) and up to AED 200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dirhams) shall be imposed on those who commit the following: a. Provides employment to a domestic worker without obtaining a work permit for the latter.”

I would like to know what the VAT implications are on commission paid to an individual to get business for a company located in India. I will be based in Dubai but travelling to London and Europe for business. Goods will be dispatched from India directly to buyers.

Is it necessary to get a VAT registration number before commencing on this venture? The company in India will be exporting ready-made garments and household furnishings to Europe. The supplier company does not have any business set-up in Dubai. IB, Dubai

It is pertinent to point out that if IB plans to trade via the UAE and will be receiving an income, he will need to set up a company with a suitable trade licence.

VAT expert Gemma Nye, manager of Go Figure Accountancy in Dubai, says: “If their choice is to register the business here, they need to follow the normal protocols of registering for VAT when they meet the threshold.”

For UAE based businesses, the mandatory VAT registration threshold is Dh375,000. There is a voluntary registration threshold of Dh187,500.

“If the business is only doing business outside of the UAE and has no intention of providing services within the UAE, then when registering they can apply for an exemption. It is very important to still ensure that they go through the registration process regardless of location of their taxable supplies,” Ms Nye adds.

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VAT comes into effect on January 1, 2018 — in pictures

I always recommend that people take professional advice in relation to any tax issues as it is important to get everything right and avoid potential problems and fines.

If I resign from a company and am still in the probation period, am I entitled to leave pay? I have accumulated more than 10 days in annual leave, but my employer says I am not entitled to any pay as I am on probation. EC, Abu Dhabi

The employer is wrong and EC is entitled to be paid for any days of annual leave that have been accrued and not taken. This applies to anyone who chooses to resign during their probation period.

The new labour law is very clear on this matter and Article 29, clause 3 states: “The employer may agree to grant the worker a leave from his annual leave balance during the probationary period, while the worker shall reserve his right to be compensated for the remainder of his annual leave balance in case he does not pass the probationary period.”

This means that while the employer can decide that no days off can be taken during the probationary period, the right to leave still accrues and must be paid if an employee has not taken it before leaving a company.

If the employer refuses to pay what is owed, an employee can register a case against them with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

This can be by calling the ministry on 600 590 000, through its website or via the app.

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: November 20, 2022, 5:00 AM
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