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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

I've been told UAE private sector jobs are not available after age 59. Is it true?

63-year-old surgeon says management will not extend his visa

Surgeon wonders whether you can work beyond 59 in the UAE public sector. Alvin Baez / Reuters
Surgeon wonders whether you can work beyond 59 in the UAE public sector. Alvin Baez / Reuters

I am 63 years old and worked as a surgeon in a hospital but now the management is saying that they will not extend my visa. I have tried to find a job at various private hospitals but I can’t get an interview. A friend has told me that jobs are not available in the private sector after age 59. Is that really true? MA, Sharjah

In January 2011, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation advised that they would accept requests for employment-related residency visas for individuals working in the private sector over the age of 60 and up to the age of 65. This means that the decision to employ people over the age of 59 rests with the employer and they can now benefit from the expertise of employees for longer. Furthermore, I understand that in specific cases, where a person has a certain type of expertise, for example in fields such as medicine or engineering, the age limit can be extended further.

Unlike most employment visas in the UAE, which are for two or three years, someone over the age of 60 may only be issued with a visa for a period of 12 months, so there will be additional costs in renewing the visa each year and this may put some companies off taking on employees over age 59. Companies are also not obliged to employ anyone over aged 60.

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I had two credit cards with HSBC, which I repaid in full, and on April 30 of this year I was sent a letter of confirmation. Despite this I am still being send regular SMSs chasing me for payment on a debt that they claim was Dh16,000 and has now increased to Dh16,924. As it has been confirmed that the cards have been settled in full this must be a system error. I have contacted the bank numerous time to get this resolved but nothing happens and I am still getting these messages. The fact this is showing an unpaid debt in the system means that a new car loan request is being denied. Is there any way you can get HSBC stop chasing me for payment on a non-existent debt and update the records to show that there are no monies outstanding? DC, Sharjah

I referred this issue to my contacts at HSBC and action was quickly taken. A spokesman for the bank advised, “We would like to confirm that we have taken this forward with Mr C and have addressed his concerns directly.” Mr C has confirmed that he has received email correspondence confirming that the two credit cards are now noted as closed in HSBC’s records. The bank apologised to him for their error in not clearing this properly from their internal system and advised that they will take action internally for staff errors.

The reason a new car loan has been denied is that the credit card debt was registered with the Al Etihad Credit Bureau and thus showing as a current liability on searches. The bank has confirmed that one of the credit cards has been amended to "closed status" and that they have submitted a request for rectification for the other card. It usually takes a couple of weeks for such requests to be actioned and the records amended. At time of writing Mr C is awaiting final confirmation but is happy with the actions of this newspaper is resolving the problem.

I started work with my current company on September 1 last year and I have just given my resignation letter yesterday. I am under a limited contract and I am due to pay 45 days salary to my employer due to my resignation. My question is, do those 45 days apply to the basic salary only or to the full package? Also, I had a salary increase in May. They made me sign an internal paper only, so my official labour contract still shows my original salary. Which one should they take into consideration for those 45 days? AB, Dubai

AB is correct in saying that she needs to compensate her employer if she breaks the fixed-term contract. This is in accordance with 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 compensation should be calculated on the basic salary only and not any other benefits. Although the labour contract lodged with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will show the original salary, the penalty should be calculated on the final salary as evidenced by internal correspondence.

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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