'I am a domestic helper and still working on a visit visa. Is this legal?

It is illegal to work without a residence visa in the UAE, and the employer could face a fine of up to Dh50,000 and a prison sentence

United Arab Emirates -Dubai- May 15, 2009:

HOUSE & HOME: A nanny takes a child out for a stroll in the Nad Al Sheba neighborhood in Dubai on Friday, May 15, 2009. Amy Leang/The National
 *** Local Caption ***  amy_051509_nadalsheba_21.jpgamy_051509_nadalsheba_21.jpg
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I have lived in the UAE for close to four months now. I am a domestic worker and serve as both maid and tutor to two children. My visit visa expired three months ago and my boss renewed it for 60 days after a delay of one month.

I am concerned now because this extended visa has also expired. Will I have to pay a fine for overstaying or is it possible that my boss has extended the visa on my behalf? NE, Sharjah

NE is in a difficult situation because she not only seems to have no valid UAE visa, but she is also working illegally. Her employer should be aware of this situation and both parties could be subject to significant fines.

No one is permitted to work in the UAE without a residence visa and this includes domestic workers. The employer should have applied for sponsorship as soon as they hired NE in 2020. At the time, the application should have been done through the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation using a government service centre such as Tasheel or Tadbeer.

In January, the government said it was shutting all non-government maid-hiring agencies and domestic workers could only be hired through Tadbeer's network of services centres to ensure better protection of workers. The change came into effect this month.

Even if the employer applied for a visit visa extension, which would be recorded in NE’s passport, she is still working illegally.

If NE is working without a proper visa, she is not protected by the law and has no recourse if she is not paid or mistreated in any way. The person employing her illegally could be liable for a substantial fine of up to Dh50,000 and even a prison sentence, so they need to be made aware of the seriousness of the situation.

Anyone who works illegally while on a visit visa can also be fined Dh50,000, so it is important that NE takes action. She needs to raise the issue with her employer. She also has an option to raise a case in the civil court against the employer for failure to obtain a visa. The employer is also liable to pay the overstay fee for failing to obtain a visa.

If someone has lost their UK National Insurance number, it can be retrieved

I’m a British citizen and have lived in the UAE for a long time. I don't have a UK address. However, I plan to move back in the next few years and need my UK National Insurance number. I don’t have any record of it.

I need this number to find out what pension I can get, but I am clueless about how to find it. Can you help? BW, Abu Dhabi

A National Insurance number is a personal reference number that all UK residents are allocated and is used for the country's social security and tax systems. BW will certainly need it to claim the UK’s state pension and for other matters.

If someone has lost their UK National Insurance number, it can be retrieved. The number can usually be found on various items of correspondence such as old payslips or tax returns. If none of these can be found, it can be requested from a UK government office, either by calling +44 191 203 7010 or by sending form CA5403. Further information can be found on the government's website.

Due to Covid-19, it is important to know that there are delays when dealing with UK government departments, both if making contact by telephone and for postal replies.

I have been working with a company for a while and want to apply for a personal loan. I need a copy of my labour contract to prove my income as well as show payslips, but the person in the office who deals with this is on extended leave. No one else seems able to help.

I don't want to wait for weeks. Is there a way to get a copy of these documents? PK, Dubai

PK works for a mainland company. All official labour contracts must be lodged with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and confirm the basic details of employment. Employees on mainland contracts can obtain a copy of their labour contract via the ministry's website.

Go to the website and click on the "Services" tab. In the drop-down menu, click on “Services” and then select “Job Offers and Contract Services”. Scroll down to the “View My Contract” section and select “Search By Person Details”. Input your passport number, click on “View My Contract” and download a copy of your contract from here.

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