UAE legal Q&As: Can I sponsor my stepdaughter?

A residency visa question from one reader, while another asks about paying back the cost of flights if an employee leaves within their probation period.

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q I plan to bring my stepdaughter to the UAE. My wife has won a Pakistani court decision to have full custody of her. I have the option to become her guardian by applying in court in Pakistan. Can I sponsor her for a visa in the UAE if her passport says that I am her guardian? Will I be able to sponsor her if her passport contains only her mother’s name as guardian?

a Since you are not the legal guardian of the girl, you cannot sponsor her in the UAE. But if you were to take up the option of guardianship in Pakistan, with the mother’s consent, you would have a document to state you are a legal guardian. If you get the document authenticated and stamped by authorities in your home country and the UAE, you would be able to legally bring her here and sponsor her. You would still need to meet all the conditions set by the UAE for sponsoring a family member but there is no other reason to prevent you from sponsoring your stepdaughter.

I am on probation after my employer paid for my flights and visa for the UAE, but I’ve been offered a better job. My contract states that I have to pay back all the flight, visa costs, et cetera, but I’ve been told this is not true. If I resign and am asked to repay these costs, where do I stand?

Since you are the one breaking the contract within the probation period the company has the right to ask you to repay expenses incurred to bring you to the UAE. If you refuse, they also have the right to take you to a labour court. However, had the company ended your service within the probation period, or indeed after it, they would have no right to ask that you repay the costs, unless they can prove, in court, that you did not meet the job requirements.

Yousef Al Bahar is an advocate at Al Bahar and Associates Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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