Can you tell me if it is true that it's illegal to do freelance work when you're under your full-time employer's sponsorship? My boss does not have a problem with me doing a few things on the side, but is concerned about breaking the law. CA Dubai
It is possible to work for a second employer or take on some freelance work, in addition to your main occupation, provided you have your employer's express permission to do so. They must provide you with an NOC (no-objection certificate) confirming this and the other company must be made fully aware of your situation. The company for whom you provide freelance services is not obliged to provide you with any benefits such as end-of-service gratuity or holidays.
I bank with HSBC and recently did a foreign currency transfer in South African rand (ZAR). The transfer did not go through and HSBC was not able to tell me why or how to fix it, so to save time I requested them to re-credit the funds to my account. I transferred approximately Dh8,000, but only received back Dh6,700. My complaint is regarding the dreadful rate of exchange they used and the fact I am out of pocket through no fault of my own. I checked the interbank rate that day and the rate that HSBC used is significantly worse. The monies for the transfer went out of my account on September 29 and were returned on October 8. Even with a movement in the exchange rate, a loss of Dh1,300, or 16 per cent of the initial amount transferred, seems excessive. I have been to HSBC and raised a formal complaint, but they were unsympathetic and unhelpful. I have registered another complaint and been promised answers, but have heard nothing. DC Dubai
I referred the matter to my contact at HSBC, who promptly investigated. DC made two complaints to the bank, but the first one was not registered. My contact has confirmed that they reversed the transaction and then applied the interbank exchange rate, so that his loss was reduced from Dh1,300 to Dh400. He stated that "there was movement of the ZAR during that time, so I can understand some loss". A spokesperson for HSBC confirmed: "We have contacted DC and an agreed solution has been reached to his satisfaction. The solution agreed with him is as follows: we have explained the reason behind the return of the funds to DC and a better rate has been applied on the returned funds and accepted."
I worked in the UAE for 18 months until May 4 of this year, when I returned to my home country. Since then, I have had an offer from a start-up company in Dubai for a managerial visa and this has been rejected. I reckon it is because of the automatic six-month ban since I didn't complete two years at my previous company. I started looking at other options and have received another offer from Dubai, which I would prefer. As I understand, the Labour office will reject the second application for a work visa as two visas cannot be in process at the same time. My questions are: how do I check with the Labour office regarding the status of my ban and when exactly will it end? Can I call them to find out the status? And what is the best way to deal with the two companies and make sure that the one I really want, the second company visa, is not rejected? NR Dubai
If NR received a six-month ban on leaving her last job, then this will apply from the date the employment visa was cancelled, which may be later than her leaving date. She is, therefore, unable to be provided with a new employment-related residency visa until the period of the ban has expired, unless the previous employer is willing to provide a letter of no objection. Only one visa can be processed at any one time, so if the job is not required with the first company they must be informed as soon as possible to stop the process and not incur unnecessary costs. Only then will a new application be considered, although an NOC may be required for it to be processed before the six-month ban has expired. To check whether a ban is in place, NR should call the Ministry of Labour on 800 665, although as she is in the UAE, she may be advised to go to one of their offices in person to receive a response.
I am staying in Abu Dhabi on a tourist visa but I now want to stay longer than the 30 days shown on the visa, in fact for another 30 days. I have been told that it is possible to leave the country to get a new visa, but I don't drive and am looking after a family member. Is there another way I can stay legally? I am from Germany. LT Abu Dhabi
A tourist visa can be extended by any of the nationalities that are granted visas on arrival by visiting the immigration office on Al Sa'ada Road in Abu Dhabi. The visa can be extended for a further 30 days at a cost of Dh610, but can be extended in this way once only, after which it is necessary to leave the country.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org