I am planning to go on holiday on June 5 to my home country and will return to the UAE on July 5. My visa, however, expires on July 6, so will I still be allowed to leave Dubai and return without any issues? Or will I be denied entry at immigration on my return because of my visa expiry dates? DA, Dubai
Technically DA’s visa will still be valid on his return to the UAE but it is possible that an immigration officer would spot the date and query his entry. This potential problem can be forestalled by obtaining a stamped letter from his employer confirming that his employment will continuing and that his visa will be renewed immediately upon his return. If he returns to the UAE and uses the e-gates at the airport. the visa date is unlikely to be flagged as they are fully automated. There are occasional issues with identity cards not being recognised. so it would be wise to obtain a letter before going on annual leave.
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I have worked for a Sharjah free zone company on an unlimited contract for eight months. I have now resigned and am currently serving my notice period. All of a sudden, the employer asked me to sign a non-disclosure / non-compete clause before they deal with my settlement and the visa cancellation. This non-complete clause has never been mentioned before and it was not in my offer letter nor in the official Sharjah free zone employment contract. Can they make me sign this document now before paying me? FK, Sharjah
It is clear that employers are not permitted to change the terms of a contract of employment provided the original contract complies with UAE Labour Law. They are also not allowed to make change without the agreement of the employee. It is not permitted to add in a clause, such as a non-compete clause, at this stage purely to benefit the employer but to potentially disadvantage the employee.
The employer must deal with the payment of any monies due and the cancellation of the visa in a timely manner and must not delay or demand the acceptance of additional work-related clauses. If the employer is insistent, FK will need to register a case against them with his local labour office or directly with the main office of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation by contacting their helpline on 800 665.
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I have worked for a company for one year and six months and my contract is for a set period of two years. My boss has now said he is going back to his home country and is closing the company. I plan to leave too and go back to The Philippines but I need to know what I am due in payment before I go. Does he have to pay for my flight home? The company is in Dubai but our visas are all from Ras Al Khaimah. CS, Dubai
CS is on a fixed-term contract, if the employer makes her redundant before the end of the term compensation is payable, Article 115 of UAE Labour Law states: 'Should the employment contract be of a determined term, and the employer rescind the same … he shall be bound to compensate the worker for the damage incurred thereto, provided that the compensation amount does not exceed in any case the total wage due for the period of three months or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.' In this situation, CS is entitled to a payment equivalent to three months of salary.
In addition, she must be paid in full for the time worked until her final day of service. Payment should also be made in respect of any days of annual leave accrued up but not taken up to the final day of employment and leave accrues during a notice period.
An end of service gratuity is payable in this case and should be calculated as 21 days per year of service, calculated pro-rata for partial years, and based on the basic salary. This is based on days of service but any days of absence without pay need not be included in the calculation.
As CS is not responsible for the ending of her employment this clause, being part of Article 131 of UAE Labour Law, applies: "The employer shall, upon the termination of the contract, bear the expenses of repatriation of the worker to the location from which he is hired, or to any other location agreed upon between the parties." This means the employer must pay for her final flight home. Had she been talking up new employment in the UAE, this responsibility would pass to her new employer.
UAE Labour Law applies across all emirates with there only being a few changes in certain free zones.
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.