Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 30 September 2020

‘Do I have to cancel my husband's sponsorship to start a new job in Dubai?'

New employer claims it is illegal to work as a sponsored dependant on a residence visa issued in another emirate

It is permitted for someone on a residency visa as a sponsored dependent in one emirate to work in another emirate provided that a work permit is obtained and they have the sponsor's permission. Andrew Parsons / The National 
It is permitted for someone on a residency visa as a sponsored dependent in one emirate to work in another emirate provided that a work permit is obtained and they have the sponsor's permission. Andrew Parsons / The National 

I am about to start a new job for a large company in Dubai. Although all terms have been agreed, the HR department has now asked me to change my visa to the company’s visa and be sponsored by them. I am currently on my husband’s sponsorship and he has a residency visa that is issued in Abu Dhabi by his employer. The HR person has told me that it is illegal for me to work on my husband’s visa because it has been issued in Abu Dhabi. I am doubtful as I have been employed before on this visa but I would still like to check. AH, Abu Dhabi

The HR person at your new company is incorrect. It is permitted for a sponsored dependant in one emirate to work in another emirate provided that a work permit is obtained and they have the permission of their sponsor. In this case, a simple no objection letter from AH’s husband is all that is required. It may be that the employer has a company policy in which they prefer to sponsor employees, although this comes with extra fees and responsibilities, but this cannot be enforced. It is certainly not illegal for AH to be employed in Dubai with a work permit from the employer. Many people are employed on this basis. The HR person may not be familiar with the rules, so AH needs to point out that this is permissible. If the employer has doubts, they can contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for confirmation.

I moved to Dubai at the start of this year. As a keen fisherman, I’d like to go fishing here. Can you tell me if a permit is required and if so, how do I get one? AK, Dubai

Recreational fishing in Dubai is overseen by the Natural Resources Protection section of Dubai Municipality. To fish using a rod, either from the coast or in a boat in coastal waters, residents can apply for a licence that is valid for a period of a year but no recreational fishing is permitted from June to October. This is to allow stocks to replenish. To apply, go to the Dubai Municipality website www.dm.gov.ae. Documents required include passport, identity card and proof of address, and a licence is usually issued within three days.

There is no fee for the licence, but individuals can be fined Dh1,000 if caught fishing without a licence. They are available to Dubai visa holders and each emirate has its own rules and permits.

I have received an email from my employer to say that my whole department is shutting down and all staff are to be terminated. The company has been badly hit by Covid-19 restrictions and although we have been paid, we sort of expected this to happen. We have been given six weeks’ notice. All seems fair but just so I am perfectly clear, can you confirm what I am due as a final payment? Does the company have to pay for my flight if I leave the country? I will have been with the company for five years and three months and it is an open-ended contract. TF, Abu Dhabi

In this situation, TF is due an end of service gratuity in accordance with Article 132 of the UAE Labour Law. This 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 21 days for each of the first five years of service. 2. The wage of 30 days for every additional year. Always provided that the total gratuity does not exceed the wage of two years.” The gratuity is calculated using the basic salary only.

If TF has accrued any days of annual leave at the time of his departure, he is entitled to payment in lieu.

In respect of the flight, this is covered in Article 131 of the Labour Law: “The employer shall, upon the termination of the contract, bear the expenses of repatriation of the worker to the location from which he is hired, or to any other location agreed upon between the parties. Should the worker, upon the termination of the contract, be employed by another employer, the latter shall be liable for the repatriation expenses of the worker upon the end of his service.” This confirms that the employer only needs to pay for a flight if TF leaves the UAE.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 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

Updated: August 8, 2020 03:47 PM

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