I was working in the UAE until December 1 last year when I returned home to India on emergency leave. I have not come back due to family concerns and my visa expired in February. I now want to cancel everything, such as my Emirates Identity Card, so how can I go about that? Also, is it possible to cancel my visa from India or do I have to visit the UAE? VK, India
If someone has left the country while on an employment visa and simply not returned they may be reported as an absconder by their employer, especially if they were on a limited contract. That is likely to cause issues upon return. UAE residency visas do not automatically expire so even after the validity date shown on a visa it should still be properly cancelled as no new visa, whether for employment or a visit, can be issued until it is. The UAE Identity Card will be invalidated as it is linked to a valid visa.
If VK has been marked as an absconder it is likely his previous employer has already cancelled his visa, therefore the quickest thing to do would be to contact them and ask. Their assistance is also required to cancel the visa if they have not already done so.
If the employer has not cancelled the visa, he can contact The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai (https://www.dnrd.ae/en) as they can assist with cancelling visas for people no longer in the UAE. When someone has been out of the UAE for fewer than six months the usual requirements are a cancellation of residency form with the signature of the sponsor and the original passport and ID card. There are fees of about Dh250 and it should take no more than a day. The form and passport must be taken in person to government department so VK would need to enlist a friend's help.
Read more from Keren Bobker:
I have just moved to Dubai and am unclear whether I can simply get a UAE driving licence or if I have to go for lessons. I am from Poland and have a Polish driving licence. One person told me it was no problem but another is convinced I have to have 40 lessons. Is that necessary as I have been driving for 20 years? MW, Dubai
For many years, only drivers from a relatively short list of countries, with driving licences also issued in the country of their passport, were able to do a simple licence exchange and receive a UAE driving licence without undergoing lessons. However, in October last year, this list increased with nationals of a further 13 countries being able to swap their licences with permission from their sponsor. This list includes Polish passport holders. Anyone who has residency in the UAE requires a UAE driving licence to drive a vehicle in the UAE and MW will be able to apply once his residency visa and Emirates ID card have been issued.
Read more from Keren Bobker:
I have given notice to leave my job and my last day will be April 19. I gave 30 days' notice as this is what is stated in my contract. The company is small and the management does not seem to know what I am entitled to. Do I get all benefits during the notice period? NB, Abu Dhabi
NB is on an unlimited contract and has been with the company for nearly four years. All benefits must apply during the full notice period per Article 118 of UAE Labour Law which states: "The contract shall remain valid for the notice period … and shall be terminated with the expiry thereof. The worker shall be entitled to his complete wage for such period on the basis of the last paid wage. He must perform his job during said period should the employer so require."
As NB has been employed for more than 12 months she is entitled to receive an end of service gratuity payment. Per Article 132: "The worker having spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an end of service gratuity upon the termination of his service. The days of absence from work without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the period of service, and the gratuity shall be calculated as follows:
1. The wage of twenty-one days for each of the first five years of service.
2 . The wage of thirty days for every additional year."
NB is leaving work of her own accord with fewer than five years of service so the amount to which she is entitled in reduced. This is clarified in Article 137 which states: "Should his continuous service be of three years at least and five years at most, he shall be entitled to two thirds of the said gratuity." This means that the actual entitlement is equivalent to 14 days for each year of service with partial years to be calculated pro-rata.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 25 years’ experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.