x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Will banks freeze my account if my visa is cancelled?

Can you tell me if it is legal to work or run a business from my home? I have been hearing different opinions and would like clarification.

Can you tell me if it is legal to work or run a business from my home? I have been hearing different opinions and would like clarification. AR Dubai While it is permissible to carry out certain functions from your place of residence, you must have a legally established company and a registered office or premises elsewhere. Alternatively, some occupations may register as individuals in a free zone. UAE law states that you may not live in your place of work, so your home can, therefore, be a secondary place of work only. In all cases, the individual must have legal residency.

I'm currently in Britain for a few weeks. I have had to buy a load of stuff for work, so I am trying to do the tax-free thing where you claim it back at the airport. The shop assistant I spoke to in a major store told me that you have to have been out of the UK for a full tax year before you can claim this back. Is this true? KC Abu Dhabi While you have to be a UK non-resident for tax purposes, there is no requirement that you must be non-resident for a full tax year, although if you do not become so your rights to reclaim the tax are rescinded. The VAT Retail Export Scheme allows people to claim a refund of the VAT on most items purchased from any shop co-operating with the VAT Retail Export Scheme, provided they are to be taken outside of the European Community. The scheme is voluntary and shops do not have to participate in it. To qualify you must be an overseas visitor, not domiciled in the UK, or non-resident for tax purposes. At the time you buy the goods the retailer will ask you to provide proof that you are eligible for the programme, so you will need to show your passport. You must complete the correct paperwork before leaving the UK and have the till receipts in your possession when you are about to depart. When leaving Britain, you will be asked to present your goods and the official refund form to UK Customs at the airport. Items that will travel in the hold as baggage must be presented to Customs before you check in. After your VAT refund form has been certified by Customs officials you can post it back to the retailer to arrange payment of your refund, or post it back to a commercial refund company to arrange payment of your refund, or hand the form to a refund booth to arrange immediate payment - as previously agreed with the retailer.

You may have to pay an administration fee. If my residence visa is cancelled, will my bank freeze my account? How do they know when someone has left their job, been fired or made redundant? If you have an outstanding car loan and continue to make regular payments, will the bank try to force a sale? If you continue to make the scheduled payments on your credit card, will the bank also freeze that?

MS Dubai Most banks will automatically freeze an account when a "final" salary payment is made by an employer. When a final payment is made, employers usually mark the salary transfer as such, so a bank will know that it is an end-of-service payment. The banks will unfreeze an account upon request, provided you do not have any outstanding debts. If you have an outstanding car loan, a bank will not attempt to force a sale as their concern is that continuous payments are made, but the point of freezing the account is to ensure that there are funds to make future payments. Some banks will take a lump sum from your current account and place it in a temporary holding account. If your bank account is frozen, then your credit card is also frozen until your bank receives confirmation of a new labour contract.

I have been offered a position with a company in Abu Dhabi, but since I have not done the exact type of work the company is engaged in, I have been asked to accept a six-month probation. This seems like a very long time to be employed on an insecure basis and I would like to know if the law allows it. To my knowledge, it is more normal to have a three-month probation. CM United Kingdom In accordance with Article 37 of the Labour Law, the probationary period can be for a maximum period of six months. Once the probationary period is complete, this period is then included for the purposes of calculating term-of-employment and end-of-service benefits. If an employee decides to leave during the probationary period, they are entitled to their wages for the time worked, but if the employee resigns during his probation period without a good cause, he is liable to pay his own repatriation cost. If both parties are happy with the situation before the specified probationary period has expired, then the remainder of the time can be waived and you can become a permanent employee.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae