No UAE residence visa yet means no employment ban

If someone does not have a UAE visa, they cannot receive an employment ban even if they leave so soon after starting a new job.

Powered by automated translation

I have been employed to work in a restaurant in Dubai. I started work on November 22 and I want to resign before the end of the year. I don't have an ID card and the only visa I have is a visit visa that expires in January. I want to know if I am supposed to pay my company anything. I signed the contract but I don't know exactly what I signed because they made me sign in a hurry and didn't want me to read it. I am worried they might scare me and tell me to pay up. I really want to go back to my country. Will they refuse to give me my passport? DR, Dubai.

As soon as an employee starts work the employer should apply for their residency visa and labour card, but this does not appear to be the case. If someone does not have a visa, they cannot receive an employment ban even if they leave so soon after starting a new job. DR would be best advised to resign as soon as possible and should also be aware that according to UAE Labour Law the employee cannot be asked to repay any costs associated with employing them. These must all be borne by the employer. In addition, employers should never retain an employee's passport and must hand it over upon request. Failure to do so is a legal issue and a police case can be made against a company that refuses to return such an important document.

Last month I accepted a job offer for a company located in Abu Dhabi. The company was supposed to send me an "entry permit" and flight ticket to the UAE within two weeks, but after 20 days there is no news from them and each time I ask, they just tell me it will happen next week. I have already quit my job in my home country and am really worried about the job offer. I am now considering going to the UAE to find a job. As far as I know, most of the companies are interested in candidates who currently live in UAE. I was thinking about getting a freelance visa to make finding a job easier, but I found I have to set up a company, which I can't afford. I have also seen that there are companies that sell freelance visas at much lower costs, averaging Dh2,000 to Dh5,000. Basically they will sponsor me as if I am an employee but without a job and salary, and I want to know if this is the best option. SS, Erbil

I have seen offers from organisations to provide visas for people without a job, but such arrangements are not legitimate and are breaking the law. I suspect that many are also scams where the applicant is asked to pay a substantial sum of money upfront and will not receive any kind of visa. The UAE does not permit the sale of employment/residency visas and they can only legitimately be provided via employment and in some cases by ownership of a company or property. The applicant and the provider can be subject to fines, imprisonment or deportation, so it is never wise to try and break the law here. In addition, you are not permitted to be employed by anyone other than your sponsor, ie the provider of a visa, so such stand-alone visas would also be of no real use. If anyone has been approached by a scammer like this, or knows of anyone operating such illegal operations, they can be reported to the authorities.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years of experience. Contact her at

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.

Follow us on Twitter @TheNationalPF