x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Teachers baffled by visa rules

A teacher who is in the UAE on a visa sponsored by a spouse may legally work here, but not without following Ministry of Labour procedures.

DUBAI // Private schools have been warned to obtain a no-objection certificate from the Ministry of Labour (MoL) before hiring a teacher who is sponsored by a spouse.

The regulation is being enforced by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) after many schools were found to be skipping legal steps in the recruitment process.

Abdulrahman Nassir, the executive director of customer relations at KHDA, said teachers who remained on their family visa - under the sponsorship of a spouse - were not being referred by schools to the MoL for registration.

"KHDA and the MoL are reactivating a process that has not been taken seriously by the schools," said Mr Nassir. "All schools must receive a no-objection letter from the MoL before hiring a teacher who is on family visa."

Many school operators and teachers expressed confusion over the rules surrounding recruitment.

An HR executive at a British school in Dubai said about 10 per cent of its staff were employed on family visas.

"We are trying to work out what the recruitment procedure is at the moment," she said.

One teacher was concerned because she was being sponsored by her husband, who worked in a different emirate.

"I am being sponsored by my husband who works in Sharjah," she said. "My school says I may have to obtain a Dubai visa to continue working here."

KHDA officials explained the problem was not about which emirate the visa was issued in, but that schools were oblivious to certain procedures.

When hiring educators, private school operators must send their qualifications and other relevant documents to the KHDA for authentication.

"The school needs to work directly with the MoL on employment requirements," Mr Nassir said.

He added that the authority was working with the MoL to clarify the steps for all concerned as quickly as possible.

aahmed@thenational.ae