UAE companies not allowed to reclaim costs of recruiting employees

This was set out in Ministerial Order 52 of 1989, Article 6 which makes it clear that all expenses incurred in taking on an employee must be borne by the employer and cannot be passed on.

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I was working for a free zone company and resigned some days ago during my probationary period. I have worked for four months of the six-month probationary period. Now they are demanding visa and other expenses from me for which I have signed no such contract. Please guide me in this regard because they are calling me again and again and won't give me cancellation unless I pay them. SAZ, Dubai

No employer is permitted to reclaim their costs in recruiting and employing any employee so SAZ is not obliged to make any payment to this company for them to cancel the residency visa. This was set out in Ministerial Order 52 of 1989, Article 6 which makes it clear that all expenses incurred in taking on an employee must be borne by the employer and cannot be passed on. This applies even if an employer has asked an employee to sign paperwork to that effect as that would contravene UAE law.

I recommend that SAZ contacts the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (formerly the Ministry of Labour) on its helpline, 800 665, or goes to his local labour office to register a case against the company as not only are they not permitted to demand reimbursement of their costs, they are also not permitted to refuse to cancel a visa for a departing employee.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 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.

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