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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Will my bank account be frozen when my residence visa is cancelled?

Who is entitled to receive an employee's End of Service Gratuity in the event of his death?

A UK passport holder asks if he needs to close his bank account when his visa expires. Getty Images
A UK passport holder asks if he needs to close his bank account when his visa expires. Getty Images

My residence visa in the UAE has been cancelled. I am a British national with a British passport. I do not have any loans or credit card debts outstanding in the UAE but have some money saved at a local branch of a major bank. Will my bank account be frozen, or can I leave the cash in it? NK, Abu Dhabi

When a bank finds out that someone has received a final payment, or that their visa has been cancelled, the automatic reaction of the bank will be to freeze the accounts. If, however, a person has no debts, the account should be unfrozen quite quickly, but the bank may put a lock on further use of a credit card if they are aware that there will be no income to support any borrowing. As it can take a few days to unfreeze an account, if NK thinks that the account will be frozen, even for a few days, it would be wise to withdraw funds to tide him over.

I am writing to you about the UAE’s new Clearance Certificate and police verification requirements. I am an Indian passport holder and have been working in the UAE since August 2014. It has been three and a half year years now and I am moving to a new job. I was required to travel back to my home country to get my medical and new visa entry stamp as part of the new process, and will be here for another week before coming back to Dubai. Please advise if getting a clearance certificate from Dubai Police for the last three and a half years will be sufficient for me to submit for clearance certificate, or do I have to get a report for the one and a half years from India as well as the time in Dubai, making the full five years, in order to get my new work visa? RA, India

With effect from 4th February, anyone who is applying for a new work visa, whether already in the UAE or a new arrival, will be asked to provide a ‘good conduct and behaviour certificate’ covering the previous five years. If therefore, as in this case, someone has been in the current country for fewer than five years, they will have to obtain a second certificate, or more, to cover the full period of five years.

This applies to all expats seeking employment visas, with GCC nationals, tourists, students and sponsored family members being exempt.

Obtaining a certificate in the UAE is a straightforward process and individuals should apply to the police in the emirate of their residency. The process will vary is other countries but for India, applications can be made online via the Ministry of External Affairs’ Consular, Passport and Visa Division.

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Read more from Keren Bobker:

Will I receive less UAE gratuity for resigning before three years?

Can I renew the residency visa of my special needs son after he turns 18?

Repatriation is not an obligation if an employee resigns

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One of our employees was taken very ill a few weeks ago and has now sadly passed away. He had been with the company for nearly five years so in addition to some salary that is payable, there is obviously an entitlement to the End of Service Gratuity. We have never had to deal with a situation like this before and are unsure how we pay what is due or what else we have to do. ES, Dubai

My condolences for your loss. In this scenario, the employer must still cancel a visa as even in the event of death, a visa is never automatically cancelled, nor does employment legally cease. Article 114 of Labour Law states, ‘the employment contract shall not be terminated with the death of the employee, unless the subject of the contract is related to the person thereof. However, the employment contract shall be terminated with the death or complete disability of the worker and such by virtue of a medical certificate approved by the competent health authorities in the State.’ The employer should arrange for the employment visa to be formally cancelled in order to avoid possible issues for the company when applying for visas in the future.

With respect to the End of Service Gratuity, this is briefly mentioned in Article 136 of UAE Labour Law which states, ‘in the event of the worker's death, his end of service gratuity shall be paid to the beneficiaries thereof’. The employer will usually pay the proceeds to any nominated beneficiary and it is smart practice for all employers to obtain a signed beneficiary nomination declaration from their employees to avoid any potential issues or complication regarding the intended recipients. Any salary that is also due, as well as days of annual leave accrued but not taken, should be paid in the same way. If no instructions are recorded and there are no known beneficiaries, or a valid will is not in place, the proceeds should be distributed in accordance with Sharia law per the standard provisions in the UAE.

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