‘Can a recruitment company charge me a job guarantee fee?’

Any agency that asks candidates for a fee is breaking the law in the UAE

Recruitment agencies in the UAE are not permitted to charge candidates in any way. AFP
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Question: I was recently terminated from my job, so I am looking for a new one.

I posted on a forum asking about available jobs and was contacted by a company that said they could guarantee getting me a new job. It sounded good until they asked for a fee of Dh3,000 ($817) upfront.

When I questioned this, as I thought the employer paid fees, I was told it is common and it gives me priority over other candidates.

This seems like a lot of money as I don’t see how they can guarantee getting me a job. Should I pay the amount or is it something to be cautious about? MF, Dubai

Answer: Any recruitment agency operating in the UAE that asks candidates for a fee, no matter what they call it, is breaking the law.

Companies are not permitted to charge candidates in any way, no matter what they claim the charge is for.

I would even go as far to suggest that in many cases this is little more than a way of scamming job seekers.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has stated on many occasions that this practice is illegal and over the years has prosecuted and closed several companies for this kind of fraudulent behaviour.

Anyone who is aware of companies operating in this illegal manner can report them to the ministry using their free helpline number, which has recently changed to 800 874.

I would encourage anyone to report any recruiters who ask for any money upfront as they are taking advantage of people.

Q: I was deported from the UAE in September 2023 due to overstaying my visa.

I didn’t commit any crime and want to go back to the UAE. Is it possible? How can I do that? EM, Nigeria

A: In accordance with UAE immigration laws, a person can be deported and issued with a travel ban for overstaying on a visa.

This happens when someone has overstayed for a long period of time, not simply a few days or weeks.

Article 28 of Law No 6 on Entry and Residence of Foreigners states: “A foreigner who has been deported may not return to the country except with special permission from the director general of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.”

When this is due to overstaying, as opposed to having committed a criminal offence, it is classed as an administrative reason and a person can appeal to have a travel or entry ban overturned.

New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

Usually, a period of time needs to have elapsed before a request can be made as the ban is supposed to be a punishment.

One option is to apply through the Ministry of Interior website, or the individual can appoint a lawyer to submit a petition on their behalf.

There is no set list of requirements, but the person will need to provide a copy of their current passport, explain the circumstances for the ban and why they would like it removed, and demonstrate their good character.

This could be proof of regular employment in the home country and a good conduct certificate from the police, confirming they do not have a criminal record in their home country.

The ministry has a committee that reviews petitions to lift bans.

If a ban relates to the emirate of Dubai, an online petition can be made through the Public Prosecutions Office.

Q: I am planning a holiday in Oman as I think it is easy to do as a UAE resident now.

Are there requirements for a passport or visa expiry date? KV, Abu Dhabi

A: The visa requirement has been made easier for UAE residents in recent months.

Earlier this year, the Omani Directorate General of Passports and Residence announced that anyone who has a residency visa in any GCC country can obtain a visa on arrival.

There is no requirement to pre-apply and obtain approval if the visit is to be for fewer than 14 days for eligible visa holders.

If a UAE resident plans to stay in Oman for longer than 14 days, they can apply for a visit visa through Oman’s official eVisa platform.

In order to be eligible for the visa in arrival, all UAE residents must have a passport that is valid for at least six months. This is in accordance with standard international law.

Their residency visa must have at least three full months to run before it expires. However, if a visa is due to expire within three months, the individual can still apply for a tourist visa before they travel.

Note that visa requirements can change, so it is always best to check the situation before undertaking any travel.

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: October 23, 2023, 4:00 AM