My UAE work visa has expired but it was never cancelled. I went back to my country but I now want to return to the UAE once again. What should I do? Am I banned or can I go back to personally cancel my visa from my old company? MT, The Philippines
If a visa has not been properly cancelled by an employer, this is usually because someone has left the country without having given proper notice. So there is a possibility that they may have been marked as an absconder as an employer generally needs to do this to recover the deposit they have paid when organising the residency visa. It means a ban will have been imposed in accordance with Article 128 of UAE Labour Law which states: "Should the non-national worker notify the employer of his desire to terminate the contract with undetermined term, and leaves work before the expiry of the legally prescribed notice period, he may not get another job, even with the permission of the employer and such for a period of one year from the date of abandonment of the work. No employer may knowingly recruit the worker or retain in his service during such period." In such cases a visa should have been officially cancelled but as MT was not present, it will not have been marked as such in her passport.
MT will need to contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation herself to obtain clarification as this information will not be provided to any third party. If, for any reason, the visa has not been cancelled, it is possible to do this remotely by contacting the relevant Department of Immigration for the emirate where MT was resident. This issue should be sorted out before attempting to re-enter the UAE as otherwise she is likely to be stopped and detained until the matter is resolved.
If MT was marked as an absconder she will have received a 12-month employment ban, so, if she does return to the UAE, she will not be able to take up employment until this period of time has expired.
Read more from Keren Bobker:
I have an employee, who although good at their job, seems to take a lot of sick days. Some of the time off is genuine but we think some is due to going out until very late and drinking too much, which is why we are getting fed up. It is happening too much but we don't want to terminate him. What are our options under the Labour Law? How much sick pay do we need to pay? Can we insist upon a doctor's letter as proof of illness? HT, Dubai
The payment due to employees if they are off work due to ill-health is set out in UAE Labour Law and clearly sets out the employer’s obligations. Article 83 states: "Should the worker spend more than three months after the end of the probation period in the continuous service of the employer and contract an illness, he shall be entitled to a sick leave not exceeding 90 consecutive or non-consecutive days for every year of service, calculated as follows: a. The first fifteen days with full pay; b. The following thirty days with half pay; c. The following periods without pay."
While this states that the first 15 days of illness during a year should be paid in full, there is another part of the law that is relevant here. Article 84 states: "The worker shall not be entitled to the wage during the sick leave should the illness directly arise from the ill behaviour of the worker such as the consumption of alcohols or narcotics." In each case, payment of salary is at the discretion of the employer, provided they adhere to the law, so even though they have the right to pay a reduced amount after 15 days of sick leave in a year, they are permittedto pay full salary if they wish to do so.
In respect of obtaining a doctor's certificate, Article 82 says: "Should the worker sustain an illness not caused by an occupational injury, he must notify the employer thereof within two days at most. The employer shall take the necessary procedures to expose the worker to a medical examination immediately in order to verify the illness thereof." The rules regarding this have changed, so now doctors are unable to backdate certificates. This means employees must visit a doctor on the first day of illness if they are expecting to be off work for more than two days and an employer requires a certificate. As this can be difficult, companies have the option to set their own policy in this regard.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 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.