‘My UAE entry permit was rejected after my old visa expired. Should I be worried?’

Residence visas should be cancelled before relocating from the UAE to avoid problems when trying to re-enter the country

An immigration official checks documents of passenger at Dubai Airport. WAM
Powered by automated translation

I am currently in India and my UAE residence visa expired on February 24, 2021. However, it still seems to be active in the system. I want to cancel the visa, but a UAE agency told me that it will expire only after I have been out of the country for six months.

I left the UAE on November 14 last year. Is it possible to cancel my visa? I need to do this as I plan to join a ship in the UAE. However, the immigration department rejected my entry visa because I have an active residence visa. Please advise. JS, India

JS has not explained why his UAE residence visa was not cancelled before he left the country, and this is causing the problem. UAE residence visas must be cancelled in all cases, even if the expiry date has passed. If someone is out of the country for 180 days, their visa can become invalid, but it is not automatically cancelled.

All residence visas should be properly cancelled when a person leaves the UAE or they may face problems when attempting to return to the country on a visit visa as a conflict will show in the immigration system, as has happened here.

JS will need to approach his previous employer and request that they cancel his visa. However, it is unclear as to why this was not done when he left as it is also in the employer’s interest to complete this process properly.

It can be tricky to cancel a visa if an employee is not in the country, although I know of cases where this has been done. It is certainly possible for the employer to process the cancellation if someone has been out of the country for 180 days.

Until such time as the expired visa is cancelled, JS will not be granted an entry visa to the UAE. Once this has been done, government systems should be updated and an application can be made for an entry permit.

I lost my job and have been offered a residence visa at a cost of Dh10,000. I will be mentioned as an employee for a company even though I will not be working there. Is this legal? NN, Dubai

It is not permitted for individuals to buy an employment visa, or for companies to take on fake employees

The UAE law is clear in that residence visas can be obtained in a set number of ways. These are as an employee, the owner of a business or company, the owner of property, as a remote or freelance worker under certain visa categories, as the dependent of a resident and a handful of special categories.

What is not permitted is for individuals to buy an employment visa in this way, or for companies to take on fake employees.

In accordance with the UAE Labour Law and Ministerial Order 52 of 1989, Article 6a, the employer is “responsible for the recruited labourer, the bearing of his recruitment expenses” and this cannot be passed on. This also means that companies must not sell visas to someone, whether they are an employee or not.

This is not legal and both parties can be heavily fined for such action.

Times have been hard for many over the past year but purchasing an illegal visa is not the way to go.

Most people can pay to purchase a visit visa and extend it after the grace period, and for a far lower sum. This should tide them over until they find a new position or decide to leave the UAE.

I am happy to be flexible about my working days when my company needs me, but I have been asked to work during several weekends. This is instead of working during the week.

I do not want to work every Friday as I want time to spend with family and friends, but I am being pushed to do this. Do I have any rights to prevent this by law? MV, Abu Dhabi

It is good to be a little flexible when building a career but everyone needs time off. The issue of working on a Friday is covered by Article 71 of the UAE Labour Law. This states: “The worker may not be requested to work for more than two consecutive Fridays with the exception of the day workers.”

The employer may not be aware of this clause, so MV needs to bring it to their attention to ensure that all employees are treated fairly.

This clause does not relate to “high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions”, as per Article 72.

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