‘Do I have to pay for a visa at the airport if my residency expired?'

If a person tries to enter the country with an invalid permit, they can be detained at immigration and their visa will be cancelled for a fee

An immigration official checks documents of passenger at Dubai Airport. WAM
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Question: If a person’s residence visa expires and they fly back to Dubai one day after expiry, can immigration officials cancel the visa at the airport and tell the person to enter as a tourist?

This happened to me, but I thought there was a 30-day grace period after visa expiry or cancellation.

I stayed out of the UAE longer than initially intended, but it was only one day over. Should I have been charged for the cancellation? SAS, Dubai

Answer: Under new rules that came into effect on October 3, residency visa holders have a six-month grace period to either leave the country or change their status once the permit has either been cancelled or expired.

Strictly speaking, no visa actually expires, but it becomes invalid and must always be cancelled.

It is not permitted to enter the UAE on an invalid visa. This is the case even if it is only one day past the stated date and the intention is to renew.

If someone tries to enter the UAE in this situation, they can expect to be detained at immigration and their visa will need to be cancelled, which can be done on the spot for a fee.

Assuming they are eligible for a visa on entry, the person can enter the country on a tourist visa.

It is important to always be aware of the validity of your residence visa.

Watch: New UAE labour laws come into effect

If it expires or is cancelled, this has other limitations. A non-resident cannot usually drive a vehicle they own as the insurance can be invalidated and it would also be illegal to work without valid residence.

Q: I was working for a company in Dubai for many years. I came to my home country on approved leave from June 9 until July 8 this year and later extended the leave until August 31.

I received my salary for the entire leave period in my UAE bank account.

Due to personal reasons, I could not travel to the UAE, so sent my resignation on September 31 by email and have been in India since.

The company is now considering June 8 as the last date of service for my end-of-service benefits and gratuity calculation.

Since I received my salary until the end of August, what should be the last date of service for calculation of my gratuity and other benefits? RK, India

A: An employer is not permitted to terminate an employee when they are on annual leave and it works the other way, too.

An employee should not resign when they are on leave, not least as they are unable to work the contracted notice period in full, as in this case.

This is clear in Article 43, clause 1 of the Labour Law, which says: “Either party to the employment contract may terminate the contract for any legitimate reason, provided that the other party is notified in writing and work shall be performed during the notice period agreed upon in the contract, provided that such period is not less than 30 days and not more than 90 days.”

As RK did not return to work his notice period, the employer is not obliged to accept the resignation although they can choose to do so, which appears to be the case here.

It is expected that an employee resigns when in the UAE and works their notice period.

Clause 3 of the same section of the law says: “The party who did not abide by the notice period shall pay to the other party compensation, which is called notice period allowance, even if the absence of notification does not cause damage to the other party and the compensation shall be equal to the worker’s wage for the full notice period or the remaining part thereof.”

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An employee should not resign when they are on leave, not least as they are unable to work the contracted notice period in full
Keren Bobker, senior partner at Holborn Assets

In this situation, while the employer has accepted the resignation, RK is obliged to pay compensation of one month’s salary.

He essentially forfeits all pay for the 30-day notice period that he has not worked to partly compensate the employer for the inconvenience of his actions.

Should they wish, an employer can request an employment ban for up to one year in this situation as failure to return can be deemed to be absconding.

In respect of calculation of the end-of-service benefits, this should be calculated up to and including August 31 being the last agreed day of official paid employment.

If the employer does not make the payment in full, RK can raise a case against them with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, but this is harder to follow up from outside the country.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 30 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: December 18, 2022, 5:00 AM