'Can I work on my wife's Abu Dhabi residence visa?'

The husband will be sponsored by his wife but cannot secure a job according to her employer

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My wife has been offered a position in Abu Dhabi and I have been told I can be her dependent on her working visa.  However, her employer says I will not be allowed to work under her visa and only a wife can work under a husband's visa. Is this correct? If I don't take a job can I live normally in the UAE or are there restrictions? ID, Abu Dhabi

This is indeed correct. While a wife who is sponsored by her husband is permitted to work if she has a ‘letter of no objection’ from him and the employer provides a work permit, this is not permitted the other way around. All employed men must have a visa provided by their employer, who then acts as their sponsor. If the husband is not working, he can reside in the UAE in the same way as any other sponsored dependent. The only restriction is that he can only be employed with his own visa.

I'm a teacher in Dubai and my school schedule has me teaching every single period three days a week without a break. Is that legal? Students come in during lunch time to work on projects, so there is literally no time for a break for over eight hours straight during the working day. ES, Dubai

ES is working for a private school, so he and the school come under the guidance of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and UAE Labour Law applies.

UAE Labour Law specifies the number of hours a person may work and this is covered in Article 65 which says: “The maximum number of ordinary working hours for adult workers shall be eight hours per day, or 48 hours per week.” Article 66 then goes on to say: “The daily working hours shall be regulated so that the worker does not work more than five consecutive hours without intervals for rest, meals and prayer, whose total period shall not be less than one hour. Such intervals shall not be included in the working hours.”

While a career will often require long hours it is not right for anyone to work for more than five hours without a break, especially when in charge of children. ES should raise this issue with the management of the school and if they fail to take steps to improve the situation, he can choose to follow up with MoHRE and register a formal complaint.

I have left my company. The job came with accommodation but they kicked me out and I had to go to court, making me spend a lot of money. Can I ask the judge to make the company pay for any expenses I have until they cancel my work visa and I have to leave? LC, Dubai

There are two issues here. If a company provides accommodation for an employee, UAE Labour Law regulates how long the employee can remain in the accommodation. Under UAE Labour Law the standard guidance is that the employee should move out no later than 30 days after their visa is cancelled as clarified in Article 131 which states: "In the event where the employer provides the worker with accommodation, the worker shall vacate the accommodation within 30 days from the date of termination of the employment thereof." While the employee can choose to leave at any time during this period, the employer is not permitted to make anyone leave before the end of this 30-day period. In this case, the visa will remain valid during the court case and has yet to be cancelled so accommodation should still be available for LC’s use.

In the situation that an employee takes an employer to court, the employer must pay the Labour Court’s court fees regardless of the outcome of any claim, as claimant employees are exempt by law from paying these fees. As to whether any additional costs incurred by the individual can be claimed, that decision rests with the judge in each case. LC can make a request for expenses incurred in connection with the case against her former employer but there are no guarantees as to whether these will be agreed by the judge.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 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