Repatriation expenses of UAE worker usually borne by employer upon termination of contract

The issue of who should pay the cost of airfares upon employment ceasing is covered in Article 131 of UAE Labour Law.

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I am changing my job in Dubai from a free zone company to a private company outside a free zone. So, will my end of settlement dues include an air ticket for me and my family as in this case I am not travelling but joining another company. How can I make sure I receive all that I am due? AC, Dubai

The issue of who should pay the cost of airfares upon employment ceasing is covered in Article 131 of UAE Labour Law. This states that, “the employer shall, upon the termination of the contract, bear the expenses of repatriation of the worker to the location from which he is hired, or to any other location agreed upon between the parties. Should the worker, upon the termination of the contract, be employed by another employer, the latter shall be liable for the repatriation expenses of the worker upon the end of his service”. In this situation the liability moves on to the next employer but the law only refers to the repatriation of the employee himself and whether the costs of flights for family members are paid for is dependent on the agreed terms of the specific terms of employment and is not mandatory. AC should also bear in mind that Article 131 goes on to say, “Should the reason of the termination of the contract be attributable to the worker, the latter shall be repatriated at his own expense should he have the means therefore”. This means that a person who resigns forfeits the right to a paid return flight, except in a few situations where the individual does not have the means to pay.

Can I renew my Dubai driving licence, which expired in 2008. I have been away from the UAE and only just entered Dubai on a residency visa. Also how do I obtain an identity card? CM, Dubai

CM’s driving licence expired and as it was not renewed at that time, and several years have elapsed, he will effectively have to apply for a new driving licence, rather than just renewing an existing one. This is a more expensive process, with a fee of Dh360, rather than the Dh110 fee for renewal. As CM has previously obtained a licence he should not have a problem but will require a no objection letter from his sponsor. Full details of the specific requirements can be found on the Government of Dubai website,, in the “how to” section. It is mandatory that all residents have an identity card but in this case it is the responsibility of the employer to arrange this at the same time as the full employment/residency visa.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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