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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Can I find out why my UAE tourist visa was rejected for security reasons?

Expert Keren Bobker says the UAE government will not disclose why a visa is refused

If a tourism visa is rejected for security reasons, the applicant cannot find out why. Photo: Dubai Tourism
If a tourism visa is rejected for security reasons, the applicant cannot find out why. Photo: Dubai Tourism

I am a frequent traveller to the UAE and have had many tourist visas, however, I recently applied for the same visa twice but it was denied due to a ‘security reason’. Do I have a right to know what kind of security reason caused the problem for my tourist visa application. RS, Pakistan

If a UAE government office rejects a visa, for any reason, they are not obliged to disclose the specifics of their decision and no one has the right to request this information. Such information is also never disclosed to a third party. If RS has had visas approved previously I can only suggest that he reapplies as there is no other action that he can take.

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I have worked in the UAE for eight years performing various roles for a company here. In June, I was asked by my company to sign a limited contract, although my previous one was unlimited, and my salary was almost halved to Dh1,000 per month. At the time, and despite my unhappiness, I felt I had little choice but to consent to such a contract. The alternative was to be made redundant and sent home. Having thought about this I have now decided to leave and return home to India as I find it impossible to survive on these wages. What notice do I have to give my employer and what about my gratuity calculation? Can I terminate my contract without any penalties given my overall long service to the company? I do not believe a probation period has been written into the last contract. PK, Sharjah

This is an interesting situation as it appears that the employer has made PK sign a contract under duress. Technically he has agreed to the new terms so these will apply - to his detriment. He could try arguing he was forced into these changes as no one would voluntarily accept such a reduction in income or the restrictive terms; it is worth contacting the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on their helpline number 800 665.

Assuming the new terms apply, as the revised contract was signed by PK, he will be penalised for breaking the terms of the contract if he resigns and leaves employment before the end of the fixed term. This is covered in Article 116 of UAE Labour Law which states: "should the contract be rescinded by the worker… the worker shall be bound to compensate the employer for the loss incurred thereto by reason of the rescission of the contract, provided that the amount of compensation does not exceed the wage of half a month for the period of three months, or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.” This is equivalent to approximately 45 days of salary and is based on the current basic salary. There cannot be a probationary period as he had already worked for the company for eight years and PK will have continuous service.

The end of service gratuity is calculated per Article 132 which states: "The worker having spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an end of service gratuity upon the termination of his service. The days of absence from work without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the period of service, and the gratuity shall be calculated as follows: 1.The wage of twenty-one days for each of the first five years of service/2. The wage of thirty days for every additional year. Always provided that the total gratuity does not exceed the wage of two years." Although PK plans to resign, his gratuity payment will not be reduced as he has been in continuous employment for more than five full years.

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I working for a Dubai-based company. I have not completed my six-month initial period and my visa status is ‘sales’. Will there be an automatic ban on me? My company has already accepted my resignation. AQ, Dubai

The issue of whether AQ will receive an employment ban depends on two factors, whether he is on a limited or unlimited contract and the skill category of his visa. I understand that AQ is on an unlimited contract. For employees on unlimited contracts, provided the full notice period has been worked, employees in skill categories one to three will not face a six-month employment ban for leaving a job so soon. Workers in skill categories four and five can only move to another employer without a six month ban after completing a period of not less than six months with their current employer. Someone with the title of ‘sales’ on their visa is likely to be skill category three but this should be verified as there are always exceptions.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner 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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