Unexpected closure of Dubai company leaves employee lost

The usual procedures for visa cancellation cannot be followed if the employer is no longer in the country and not contactable.

I worked with a company in Dubai for one year as salesman and went on holiday a couple of months ago. During the time I was away, the company closed down and the person running it has now left the country. I don’t know exactly who the sponsor for this company is, so how do I get my visa cancelled? I wasn’t given a labour card either. BK, Dubai

The residency visa in BK’s passport should state the name of the sponsor as standard practice, but in most cases this will be the name of the employer or of the free zone authority if someone is employed in a free zone. If BK has a free zone visa he needs to approach the free zone auth­orities to arrange for the visa to be cancelled and they should be aware that the company is no longer trading. The usual procedures for visa cancellation cannot be followed if the employer is no longer in the country and not contactable, but the free zone authorities will be able to arrange the appropriate cancellation. If the company was not in a free zone, BK will need to contact the Ministry of Labour, either directly or via a labour office, to explain the situation and request a cancellation certificate from them before applying to theDepartment of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai (DNRD) for final cancellation of the residency visa. It will be a little more complicated than usual but can certainly be achieved. Physical labour cards are rarely issued these days as the electronic versions take over but should be registered in the system. Sadly as the employer has left the UAE, BK is unlikely to be able to obtain any end of service gratuity or outstanding sal­ary that he may be owed.

I am currently in employment and have been with this company for a little over a month. My profession is sales under the fourth skill level category. Will I get a labour ban if I switch jobs? Another company has offered me a new job as a sales executive, which is a third skill level category position but the salary is only Dh2,500. I would like to know if the skill level is enough or do I also need to meet a salary requirement to prevent me being banned? JP, Sharjah

I understand that JP is on an unlimited contract, but even so he could receive a ban if he does not work for the current employer for a period of six months if he does not have an attested high school certificate or higher, and his position is not in category 1, 2 or 3 of the Ministry of Lab­our’s classification system. He states that his current position is in category 4, so he would receive a ban if he resigned now and this is based on his current role, not the one he would like to move to. Under the rules that came into effect in January of this year, it is the job classification that is relevant, not the salary.

If an expat is under an unlimited contract, completed less than one year of service and resigned of his own will, is he entitled to get leave encashment for the unavailed but accrued leave for the period? And is he entitled to get a one-way ticket to his home country as he is leaving the UAE in this situation? KA, Abu Dhabi

Anyone leaving service is entitled to be paid in full for all work that has been carried out and the final salary payment should also include any days of annual leave that have been accrued but not taken, as per the contract of employment. Anyone leaving service, for any reason, within the initial 12-month period will not be entitled to an end of service gratuity. The issue of the cost of a return flight is covered in Article 131 of UAE Labour Law which states: “Expenses for repatriation of an employee to his place of origin or any other place agreed upon by both parties shall be borne by the employer. If the employee after the end of his contract takes up employment somewhere else, repatriation expenses upon termination of his service shall be paid by the last employer subject to the provisions in the preceding clauses, and if the employer has failed to repatriate the employee and has not paid the repatriation expenses, the competent authorities shall do this at the employer’s expense by way of attachment. If the cause for termination of contract is attributed to the employee, his repatriation will be arranged at his own expense if he has the means to pay.” If the employee has resigned of their own accord, they are generally responsible for the cost of their flight back to a home country unless a contract of employment states to the contrary.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser 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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Published: September 9, 2016 04:00 AM


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