Am I allowed to re-enter the UAE after deportation?

The reader was deported to Kenya and now wants to return for a new job

When residents are deported, they are generally banned from returning for one year, says Keren Bobker. Photo: The National
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I was deported from the UAE to my home country Kenya because my employer accused me of absconding, even though I was there all along. I am now being offered a HR manager position in Dubai. When I was leaving the immigration detention centre nobody could give me solid information on my status and I was never taken to the court to argue my case. Most people tell me that if you are deported then you receive a lifetime ban and you may not enter the UAE even on a visit visa. I would like to know three things: can I enter the UAE after deportation? Where or how can I verify my status with certainty? If I apply for a visa and it goes through successfully, does that mean that I don't have a ban?

JW, Kenya

If an employee is reported as absconding there is a specific process that should take place but not all cases end up in court. In the event of deportation for absconding, the ban is usually for a period of one year and lifetime bans are common only following actual criminal convictions.

Assuming the ban was for one year only, JW should be able to re-enter the UAE on a suitable visa. The only way to obtain a definitive answer is by contacting the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) which is part of the Ministry of the Interior; it regulates the entry and exit of travellers to the UAE via Dubai. For more information and contacts, visit

The GDRFA works in tandem with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, which issues employment related residency visas. While the GDFRA may issue a tourist visa, that does not definitively mean that JW will secure a residency visa, so I recommend he checks with both government organisations to be sure.


Read more from Keren Bobker:

What penalties will I face for breaking a fixed-term contract?

Repatriation is not an obligation if an employee resigns

Can I return to the UAE if my last work visa was never cancelled?

Can I receive compensation for working on a public holiday in the UAE?


I am a doctor, as a consultant physician, and am still in my six-month probationary period. I have now had a better offer from another hospital but when I asked the labour office about moving they told me I would get a ban if my original hospital complains, which I expect they will do. Friends are saying that doctors don't get bans, so who is right? Will I have to pay any penalty?
SM, Abu Dhabi

I understand that SM is on a limited contract, as most medical staff are. Generally, there would be an employment ban imposed if someone leaves employment part way through a fixed-term contract. The situation for certain professionals is different however, and this is covered in Ministerial Order 13 of 1991, titled: The organisation of the transfer of sponsorships of non-national labours the rules governing the same.

Article two of this states: "Non-national labourers may be allowed to transfer one job to another and hence transfer of their sponsorship if they fall under the following categories ..." In this list, point b) is: "Doctors, pharmacists and male and female nurses". It may be that the person SM spoke to at the labour office was not aware of his occupation, or they are unaware of this point in law.

He still needs to give the employer proper written notice of his intention to break the contract of employment, something he will be penalised for. As set out in Article 16 of the main UAE Labour Law: “Should the contract be rescinded by the worker … the worker shall be bound to compensate the employer for the loss incurred thereto by reason of the rescission of the contract, provided that the amount of compensation does not exceed the wage of half a month for the period of three months, or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.” 

The only cost to SM on changing employment is this penalty and he cannot be asked to pay any additional amounts such as the cost of his visa. No matter the circumstances of leaving service, the employee is not liable for any costs incurred in employing them. This is covered in Ministerial Order 52 of 1989, Article six which states: “The employer or its legal representative shall sign the recruitment application form prepared by the Ministry ... such a form shall include the following undertakings: (a) An undertaking from the employer to the effect that he shall sponsor and be responsible for the recruited labourer, the bearing of his recruitment expenses and his employment in accordance with the employment contract in a way not prejudicing the provision of the Federal Law No (8) of 1980 referred to herein.”

As SM is on a limited contract, he will have to pay a penalty for breaking the
contract terms but does not have to pay for any of his visa or recruitment costs and should not receive an employment ban due to his profession. 

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.