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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

'Can I do a summer internship in the UAE on a visit visa?'

The Slovenia resident is coming to visit his parents and wants to secure a role during his time here

New human resources legislation will give more opportunities to workers in Dubai. Getty Images
New human resources legislation will give more opportunities to workers in Dubai. Getty Images

Can I carry out a summer internship in the UAE on a visit visa as a student coming to visit his parents? If not, are there any short-term work visa permits for two to three months for students or graduates like me? The companies have told me such a visa does not exist, therefore I cannot be sponsored. AS, Slovenia

It is illegal for anyone to work in the UAE if they are on a visit or tourist visa. Both the individual and the employer can be fined and there is also a risk that the individual could be deported. It is common for companies in the UAE to offer internships over the summer months but these roles are generally taken by students resident in the UAE, under their parent’s sponsorship, or who are sponsored by their UAE college or university. The employer simply has to provide a labour card and obtain a letter of no objection from the sponsor.

It is possible, however, for non-residents over the age of 18 to obtain a short-term work permit for an initial period of up to 90 days, although this can be renewed, known as a mission visa. The potential employer must make an application for a mission visa to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and this should be approved before someone enters the UAE. Various costs apply but it should be no more than Dh800 per person for the initial application in addition to the standard labour card fees. The cost is higher for renewal.

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Read more:

'How can I find out if there are cases registered against me for unpaid debts?'

'Do I have to pay my employer three months' salary if I leave early?'

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I left the UAE six years ago and live in Europe now but I left with some credit card debts and received numerous messages that my cheque had been submitted meaning I cannot re-enter Dubai without getting arrested. Is that still the case? Can I transit through Dubai on my way to another country, so that I do not have to go through immigration? I have since renewed my passport and changed my surname from my previous passport name but the date of birth remains the same. Could that allow me to enter Dubai in the future if I want to visit? MW, Europe

If someone leaves Dubai without repaying the money that they have borrowed there will be consequences, and rightly so. There is both a local and moral obligation to repay money and I am not impressed to read that someone has not made any attempt to repay their debts, despite six years having elapsed, and is looking for a way to return to the UAE without doing so.

Changing a name to try and avoid repaying money that is owed is no guarantee that a person will get away with non-payment. If the date of birth is the same on the passport that may lead to investigation. It is also still evading a debt and wrong.

It appears that as MW failed to make the due payments on her credit card, the bank then presented the security cheque and because that bounced they have registered a police case for debt.

This will then show up on the computer system of the Immigration Department and anyone who passes through passport control will be flagged on the system.

In theory, someone who transits through the UAE will not pass through passport control. Questions can still be asked and if a flight is seriously delayed then passengers can be asked to enter the country and that will present a problem.

While I have sympathy for people who struggle to repay debts due to redundancy or difficult circumstances, people who deliberately fail to repay what they have borrowed even when they have the means to do so, make it harder for those people with genuine issues as banks become stricter with anyone who defaults on a debt.

I have been with my company for four months but I was very ill last week with flu and could not do my job so I took three days of sick leave. I managed to go to a local hospital to get a sick leave certificate but my boss has told me that I will not be paid for these days as I have a six-month probation period. Surely I should be paid as people get sick and I gave them the certificate? TM, Abu Dhabi

This issue is covered by Article 83 of UAE Labour Law, which states that: the worker shall not be entitled to any paid sick leave during the probation period'. This confirms that the employer is correct in not having to pay an employee when they are off work due to ill health during their probationary period, which will be set out in the contract of employment. Some companies will pay salary for a few days of proven illness but this is entirely at the discretion of the employer.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 25 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.