x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Leave your job in the first 2 years and risk a 6-month ban

On your side: Keren Bobker answers readers' questions on resignations and visas.

I have recently moved to Abu Dhabi and am working here for a private company. It is my first job in the country so I do not know about the laws. I have an MBA in finance as well as an MA in economics and have working experience of over eight years in my home country, but here in the UAE I am on a very low salary of Dh4,000 per month. Now I am looking for a good opportunity and recently had a few interviews and I have been offered a salary double that I am being paid currently. My question is, what will happen if I accept the new offer and resign from my current job? Since I am on a probation period of six months, will I face a ban because I only joined in March? What is the ban period and how can one remove the ban? MA Abu Dhabi

If anyone leaves a job during the first two years they will automatically receive a ban of six months. This is generally fixed, but there are provisions for a ban to be lifted if someone moves job after a full year of service and in this case MA would need to move to a job with a minimum salary of Dh12,000 per month as he holds at least a bachelor's degree. While Article 37 of the UAE Labour Law states that an employer can terminate the employee within the probationary period without any issues, the law is a little vaguer regarding what an employee may do. It does not specify that a worker can resign without notice, but nor does it say a worker cannot resign without notice, so unless a contract of employment states differently, my advice is to assume that formal notice is required. This assumes that MA is on an unlimited contract.


I have been working in the UAE for a couple of years and have always been sponsored by my employer. I got married a few months ago and am considering going on my husband's visa. Can you tell me, if I switch to a spouse's visa, do I need to notify my bank? And am I still allowed to keep my bank account, especially as my salary will still be paid into it? Alternatively, if in the future I stop working so don't have a regular income - although still living in the UAE - can I still keep my UAE bank account? FL, Abu Dhabi

There is no problem with a married woman on her husband's visa having her own bank account and the banks should not have an issue with this. If someone changes their visa status, banks often want to see a copy of the latest one for their records. In most cases it is not a problem for a woman who is not working to keep the same bank account, but if the particular bank is not amenable there are several banks who offer accounts specifically for women without regular salaries, or indeed any salary.


My daughter, who is now 22, has just finished university and wants to come and stay with us for a few months, before taking up a graduate course in the United States. I understand that a tourist visa is only valid for 30 days, but she is not intending to get a job when here. How can she legally stay in the country for this time? RV, Dubai

Your daughter will be travelling on a Dutch passport so she will be given an automatic visa on arrival in the UAE, which is valid for 30 days. This can be extended via the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs (website www.dnrd.ae) at a cost of Dh640 and takes 24 hours. This can be done at their offices in Bur Dubai, but once only, or a visa can be extended by exiting and re-entering the country, either by land or air. This is something of a grey area as no-one seems to know how often a person can legally do this. Alternatively, as your daughter is unmarried, she can be sponsored by her father and obtain a residency visa. You can do this yourself or ask for assistance from your company.


I will shortly need to take out a loan to finance the cost of a vehicle, but the whole process is very confusing. I have read in a few places that I need to know about the APR for a loan, but when I asked at one bank they didn't even know what it was and couldn't answer my questions. Can you help please? TG, Dubai

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is considered to be the real cost of a loan or mortgage. This is the annual rate that is actually charged as a percentage. This is usually higher than the quoted interest rate as it takes into account the fees or additional costs associated with the transaction. You may be quoted what sounds like a reasonable interest rate for a loan but then you have to consider any initial or annual fees or redemption costs that will increase the total cost and your repayments. The APR is a widely used term in much of the world, although sadly it is not as common in the UAE, which is a shame as it shows the real costs more clearly.


Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com