x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Keep old and new passports attached to retain visa

Have a problem? Been treated unfairly? Our consumer advocate is on the case for you.

I have a standard UAE residency visa, but my passport is due to expire in a couple of months. The visa is valid for another year. How do I go about moving the visa from one passport to another? Is it expensive? PL Ajman Usual practice is not to do this, as it is not required. You should apply for a new passport in the usual way and then join the two passports with an elastic band. In fact, many are returned from embassies in this form. You will not be asked any questions when entering or leaving the country, and will incur no additional costs. Just keep them together, and if you are required to provide a copy as proof of identity make sure you provide copies of the information pages from both passports, as your residency visa will show the old passport number. When you arrive to get your visa renewed, you simply remove the old passport.

I hope you can answer a query. I am not a Muslim, but I have heard that all employees are supposed to work shorter hours during Ramadan. My employer says this is not the case, and that all non-Muslim staff will work as usual. Can you advise? CR Dubai Article 65 of the UAE Labour Law states that companies should reduce the working day by two hours during the month of Ramadan for both Muslims and non-Muslims. This is a mandatory provision and those who work a full day are entitled to overtime or their employer may face penalties. While in previous years many companies have ignored this ruling, The Ministry of Labour has just announced that it will be clamping down on private-sector companies that do not adhere to the law. Furthermore, I understand that there are plans to make spot checks to see if companies are complying with the law.

I am South African and I live in Dubai. I plan on getting married next year, but have been told by the church here that I have to provide a full birth certificate. Do you know if I can get one here or how I go about this? SB Dubai It is standard practice for UAE churches to require a long-form (unabridged) birth certificate, as opposed to the shortened versions that are often issued these days. You will need to contact the South African Consulate General in Dubai at 04 397 5222. Two forms, available from the consulate, are required, together with a fee of Dh30 in cash. You must confirm which version of the birth certificate is required - full and unabridged in this case - and provide a copy of any existing certificate if you have one, as this can speed up the process. Applications must be made in person at the Consulate General, which is located in Bur Dubai on Khalid bin al Waleed Street, more commonly known as Bank Street. The standard public office hours are 8.30am to 12.00pm Sunday to Friday, but from 9.30am to 12:00pm during Ramadan. I understand the process can take up to five months, so I would advise you to request it as soon as possible.

In 2008 I dealt with two recruitment companies via their websites, UAEStaffing and Jobs in Dubai. In the case of UAEStaffing I applied for several positions as advertised by them. On March 28 2008, I was informed that I was shortlisted for the position of property manager. I was requested to submit a processing fee of US$80 (Dh294). Payment was to be made one time only, which would cover all applications until a position was accepted. On March 30 2008, the payment was made. Needless to say that was the last I heard and they have not responded to my e-mails. The situation with Jobs in Dubai was more or less the same. They requested CAN$92.00 (Dh308) which was, allegedly, fully refundable after six months should a placement not be made. I did not pay them any money. Is this sort of thing allowed?

LD South Africa These companies are not based in the UAE, so there is little that can be done from here. Jobs in Dubai appear to be a mainly online company that is based in Ontario, Canada. UAE Staffing is based in London, and although they have a small office in Dubai for employer contact, all payments go through their London office. Under the UAE Labour Law it is illegal for any company or employer to charge or try to charge any employee for any part of the recruitment or employment process, including agent's fees, finder's fees, commissions, medical fees and registration charges. These companies operate outside of UAE jurisdiction, but I would suggest that these practices are unethical and that all readers should avoid any recruitment company that charges a fee. Standard practice is for costs to be borne by the employer, who will pay the agency once a suitable candidate is found. Any company contravening the law in the UAE can be reported to the Dubai Economic Department. If enough complaints are made the company their trade licence can be withdrawn.

I have a part-time job, but have been offered another role that I would also like to accept. Am I allowed to have two jobs? PD Abu Dhabi This seems to be a slightly grey area in law. Strictly speaking the Ministry of labour says not, but they have no issues with someone doing this provided both employers are fully aware of the situation and all is above board. I have been advised by a lawyer that a letter of No Objection (NOC) must be provided by each employer.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. She can be reached at keren@holbornassets.com