'Can my UAE residence visa be cancelled while I am outside the country?'

The Australian's former employer has demanded he return to Dubai for the process to go ahead

A picture taken on January 11, 2018 shows the skyline of the Dubai Marina. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE

I was working in Dubai on an unlimited contract but during my annual leave I secured an Australian visa and moved there directly. I posted my resignation to the company and they accepted. My contract would have ended on October 17. I recently received an email demanding my presence in Dubai for the cancellation process. The company is also claiming Dh1,500, which I am ready to pay, for my prepaid leave salary and my bi-annual ticket allowance. My questions are:

1. Can the company cancel my visa without my presence?

2. They said they will file an Absconder Declaration. Does this mean I will receive a permanent ban?

3. Can I give my passport to the company so that they can process the cancellation? SK, Australia

It is not essential for a person to be physically present for a visa to be cancelled and it can be done without the individual being in Dubai and also without the passport. It is no longer necessary, in most cases, for a residency visa to be marked as cancelled. No one should send their passport in the post to anyone other than the issuing government, so SK should not send the document to his ex-employer.

As SK left his job without providing the required notice by law, the employer is within their rights to file an absconding case. The employer needs to do this when someone leaves in this manner to secure a refund of their employment deposit. An absconding ban is usually valid for a period of one calendar year.

SK has been asked to make a payment to the employer and as he failed to give proper notice, and has broken the terms of the contract of employment, a penalty is payable. This is as set out in Article 116 of UAE Labour Law: “Should the contract be rescinded by the worker … the worker shall be bound to compensate the employer for the loss incurred thereto by reason of the rescission of the contract, provided that the amount of compensation does not exceed the wage of half a month for the period of three months, or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.”

As SK had more than three months left on his contract, the penalty is equivalent to 45 days of total income. If leave was taken that had not yet accrued, the company can also request a refund of those days.

Whether the cost of a flight is repayable depends on the wording in the employment contract; the employer is not obliged to pay for the flight for any employee who departs in this way.

How can a non-resident property owner cash in cheques the tenant pays for rent? My property is in the UAE and I do not have a bank account in the UAE? Can I start a savings bank account for this purpose? CJ, India

UAE banks ask for a copy of an Emirates ID card, which is issued to all residents, when someone applies to open a bank account . However, a number of banks will allow non-residents to open a basic account with them. These are simple accounts without an option for credit or a cheque book, but with online banking and an ATM card. This would allow a property owner to deposit cheques in UAE dirhams.

An individual must be present to open an account as a non-resident, per UAE Central Bank guidelines. The usual proofs of identity and address are required for anti money laundering checks, together with several months’ worth of statements for the individual’s main account in their home country. The exact requirements and minimum balances will vary between banks so double check. Banks that can assist include HSBC, Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and RakBank.

I've lost my driving licence. Will I get in trouble and can I replace it? LF, Abu Dhabi

Replacing a lost driving licence is a simple process. For an Abu Dhabi resident, the Abu Dhabi Police oversee such issues. In the capital itself, visit Baniyas Police Station, or a request can be made online via the police website www.adpolice.gov.ae or via the Abu Dhabi Police app.  The individual must show their Emirates ID and pay a Dh300 fee, I understand a replacement licence can be issued in just a few days.

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