'Can I be repatriated if my Dh12,000 credit card fraud case is still ongoing?'

The Abu Dhabi resident fears he cannot exit the UAE following job loss if the investigation has not been completed

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I am a victim of a Dh12,000 credit card fraud and my case is now being investigated by the bank. I have submitted all necessary documents including dispute forms and verbal statements. The bank told me that it will take 90-120 days before the result of the investigation can be released. Another concern is that I will not be staying with my current employer due to the coronavirus because of economic losses so I will be let go and no companies are responding to my job applications. With no other resources to support myself, the only option my sponsor agency can do is to repatriate me once flights to my home country are available. The question is, will my dispute case under investigation be a holding point for my repatriation? RA, Abu Dhabi

An ongoing case such as this should not prevent anyone from leaving the UAE but there are some issues to be considered. The bank may request that RA goes to a branch to sign any paperwork, obviously after restrictions have been lifted, and a bank account cannot be closed with an outstanding investigation.

It is recommended that residents close a bank account before they leave the UAE permanently. This is because fees  can accrue on dormant accounts, which can lead to a debt case and a problem re-entering the country. Few banks will allow an account to be closed if someone is no longer in the UAE.

It is standard practice for banks to quote this investigation time frame to customers for fraud cases, and I am aware of quoted times of up to 180 days. It varies between the main two card providers, Visa and Mastercard, and the specific circumstances. A case can be resolved sooner in some cases but RA can check the progress of his case with his bank every few weeks.

If the investigation has not been resolved before he leaves the UAE, he will need to speak to his bank to see if they are able to close the account, after transferring the balance, without him being present. As more and more transactions are now able to be done remotely, and systems have been amended to accommodate this, some banks may be more amenable in the future.

I am a nursing assistant in Dubai. My notice period is three months and I would like to resign now so that in a few months I can go home with my family once everything is cancelled. I have been told by HR that I cannot resign as per a circular from the Dubai Health Authority. I then called the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) who said I could resign as no law has been passed. These are two very different opinions, so what is the real situation? EK, Dubai

On March 29, the DHA issued a circular that thanked medical staff and facilities and went on to say: “Furthermore, for ensuring the preparedness of health facilities and their full capacity to manage cases of the coronavirus Covid-19, herein DHA would like to point out the following: retain the existing healthcare workforce at healthcare sector (including doctors, nursing and allied health). Therefore, health facilities are requested to refrain from accepting resignations of healthcare staff, being the main front line in fighting the pandemic. All facilities are expected to comply with the above.”

The circular ended by advising that this was from immediate effect and would be valid until further notice. This has yet to be rescinded, so it is correct that EK’s employer does not need to accept her resignation at this time. This is due to the need for all medical staff to be available. Once the situation has improved this requirement will be lifted and she will be able to resign. This is not a change in law, and bear in mind that not all medical facilities are under the guidance of the MoHRE as some are in free zones and others are government. DHA oversees the health sector in the emirate of Dubai.

I have a car due for annual inspection in two weeks. As I am fully isolating because of some health issues, how can I renew the registration without incurring any fines? SN, Abu Dhabi

It is currently possible for people in all emirates to renew their vehicle registration online and without a physical inspection. This was announced on March 23 for a period of three months. Residents can do this via the police app or website in the relevant emirate or if in Dubai, via the RTA app or website. The fee is a standard amount of Dh350 for cars and you pay this online when submitting the relevant information. The registration card is delivered to the owner’s home for a nominal fee. Insurance must be renewed as usual and this can also all be done online or over the telephone.

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