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FAQs

When does gratuity become due and payable ?

Gratuity will only become due and payable on the termination of an employment contract.
The employee’s wages, overtime, and any other benefits, including end of service gratuity, are considered to be a preferential debt for which the employee shall have a lien over any movable or immovable property owned by the employer ranking second to government charges, judicial fees and family alimony payments.

In case of a dispute between the employee and the employer, how can either of them proceed with a case ?

Where there is a dispute between the employee and the employer, an application must be made to the Ministry in the emirate in which the employer’s establishment is located. The complaint must be submitted in writing to the complaints department at the Ministry, setting out a summary of the facts, calculation of the amount due, and enclosing a copy of the labour contract.
The application will be filed with the Ministry upon payment of AED.100 registration fee.
The employer or the employee will be summoned to state teir respective cases before the labour office at the Ministry who must make a recommendation within two weeks from the date in which the application is filed. Should the party fail to settle the dispute as recommended by the Ministry, the matter will then have to be referred to court to be litigated in the normal manner. In such a case, the Ministry will issue a summary of the facts of the case, and a memorandum together with its recommendation, and the arguments put forward by both parties. Within three days from the date the application is received, the court will schedule a hearing and summon the other party to hear the matter.
Such contracts are enforceable and valid as contracts executed in the UAE. However, if there is an additional local contract and a dispute arises, the provisions in the contract which are more favourable to the employee will probably be upheld, providing there is evidence in support of the provision in question.
In terms of the gratuity payable, where there are two contracts, the employee may only benefit from one.
The enforceable contract will in most cases be the one filed with the Ministry and gratuity calculated according to the salary specified in the UAE employment contract.
A complaint by either the employer or the employee must be made to the labour office within one year from the date in which the amount or the entitlement becomes due otherwise it will be time bared. In other words, the one-year time period does not start running from the date of termination, but rather from the date the amount becomes due and unpaid.
In calculating time according to the Law, the Gregorian calendar is used. Years are calculated as 365 days and months as 30 days. However, filing an action before the Ministry will suspend the time from running. If the Ministry fails to transfer the case to court within two weeks, the employee may then proceed to court without referral from the Ministry .
Employees are exempt from paying court fees. This exemption also applies if an appeal is filed at the court of appeal.
However, should a matter fail to be settled at the Ministry, an employer who elects to proceed with court action must pay court fees, which are normally based on a percentage of the amount in dispute.
The Law provides slightly different provisions regarding claims made by a number of employees of the same establishment who file a complaint against their employer. It may take longer to be settled at the Ministry and the Ministry may form a committee to settle such disputes.

Is the Ministry or any other competent authority entitled to inspect establishments or commercial entities established in the UAE ?

The Labour Inspection Department at the Ministry and the personnel employed therein may undertake labour inspections at any establishments or commercial entities, and have been given the power to do so by the Law. The inspector however shouldcarry an identification card issued by the Ministry, and is entitled to enter premises for inspection. Employers and their agents should present the labour inspectors with all the necessary facilities and information to perform their duties and should consent to any summons to appear before them, or should send a delegate to appear on their behalf if they are required to do so.
A labour inspector is responsible for the following:
(1) Supervising the proper enforcement of the provisions of the Law, particularly terms of work, wages, on the job safety, health and the specific regulations concerning the employment of juveniles and women;
(2) Providing employers and employees with the information and technical guidance that will enable them to adopt the best means for the enforcement of the provisions of the Law.
(3) Informing the concerned authority of any loop-holes which the enforcement provisions fail to remedy and recommending any necessary steps.
(4) Recording incidents where the provisions of the Law and the regulations have been violated.
A labour inspector has the right to do the following:
(1) Enter any establishment that is subject to the provisions of the Law at any time during the day or night without prior notice, provided that such entry is made during working hours.
(2) Conduct any test or investigation that may be necessary to ascertain the proper enforcement of the Law.
(3) Question employees or the employer, examine all records which have to be kept under the provision of the Law, take asample or samples of materials used or handled in industrial activities, and ascertain that notices and pamphlets required to be displayed at the work site are in accordance with the provisions of the Law.

No. Type of disease Work causing disease
1. Poisoning by lead and its compounds : Any work involving the use or handling of lead or compounds containing lead.
2. Poisoning by mercury and its compounds: Any work involving the use or handling of mercury or its compounds or materials containing mercury, and any work involving exposure to the dust or gases of mercury or of its compounds or materials containing mercury.
3. Poisoning by arsenic and its compounds: Any work involving the use or handling of arsenic or its compounds or materials containing arsenic, and any work involving exposure to the dust and gases of arsenic or of its compounds or materials containing arsenic.
4. Poisoning by antimony and its compounds: Any work involving the use or handling of compounds antimony, its compounds or materials containing antimony and any work involving exposure to the dust and gases of antimony or of its compounds.
5. Poisoning by phosphorous and its compounds:Any work involving the use or handling of compounds phosphorus, its compounds or materials containing phosphorous and any work involving exposure to the dust or gases of phosphorus or of its compounds or materials containing phosphorus.
6. Poisoning by petroleum, its derivatives and compounds: Any work involving the handling or use of compounds and byproducts petroleum, its derivatives and compounds and any work involving exposure to their dust or gases.
7. Poisoning by manganese and its compounds: Any work involving the use or handling of compounds manganese, its compounds or materials containing manganese, and any work involving exposure to the gases or dust of manganese or of its compounds and any products containing manganese.
8. 8 Poisoning by sulphur and its compounds: Any work involving the use or handling of sulphur, its compounds or materials containing sulphur, and any work involving exposure to gases or dust of sulphur or its compound alloys.
9. Poisoning by petroleum, its compounds: Any work involving the handling or use of by-products and compounds. petroleum, its gases or by-products and any work involving exposure to such substances, whether in solid, liquid or gas state.
10. Poisoning by chloroform or carbon tetrachloride: Any work involving the use or handling of carbon tetrachloride chloroform or carbon tetrachloride and any work involving exposure to their gases, or to any gases containing such substance.
11. Diseases resulting from radium or other radio-active substances (X-ray): Any work involving exposure to radium or to radio-active substances (X-ray) any radio-active materials or X-ray.
12. Chronic diseases of the skin and burns: Any work involving the use or handling of or of the skin and the eyes. Transfer of tar carbon, tar machines, mineral oil, kerosene orcement flour and similar materials such as dust and the components and by-products or deposits of such items.
13. Injuries of the eyes by heat and light: Any work involving frequent or continued and their complications. Exposure to light, heat or rays from molten glass or from heated or melted metals, or exposure to strong light and intense heat as would result in damage to the eye or impairment of sight.
14. Lung diseases resulting from silica dust, asbestos or other fines Any work involving exposure to newly-asbestos and cotton dust. generated dust of silica or substances containing more than 5% of silica such as work in mining, quarrying, stone cutting or grinding, working in a stone cement factory, glassing metals with sand or any other activity involving such exposure to asbestos or cotton dust to an extent that such diseases are caused.
15. Anthrax: Any work involving contact with animals infected with this disease, or with their skins, horns and hair.
16. Glanders: All works involving contacts with animals infected with this disease.
17. Tuberculosis Work at hospitals for the treatment of this disease.
18. Enteric fever Work at hospitals specialised in the treatment of this fever.
• Percentage
• Permanent
1. Loss of both arms from the shoulders and loss of any two or more limbs 100
2. Complete loss of sight in both eyes or loss of two eyes 100
3. Complete paralysis 100
4. Dementia or complete mental derangement 100
5. Wounds and injuries to the head or brain which cause continuous headache 100
6. Complete deformation of the face 100
7. Injuries and wounds to the chest and internal organs which cause a continuous and complete deficiency in the function of these organs 100
Partial
1. Loss of both legs from the top 90
2. Loss of hands from the elbow or above 85
3. Severe deformation of the face 80
4. Loss of both hands from the elbow 70
5. Complete loss of the right arm from the joint of shoulder or from the elbow 70
6. Loss of both legs from the knees or above 70
7. Complete loss of the left arm from the joint of shoulder or from the elbow 60
8. Loss of one leg from the knee or above 60
9. Loss of the right arm from the elbow or below 60
10. Loss of one leg from above 60
11. Loss of both legs from below the knee 60
12. Loss of all the fingers of the right hand including the thumb 60
13. Loss of the left arm from above or below the elbow 50
14. Loss of the fingers of the left hand including the thumb 50
15. Loss of one leg below the knee 50
16. Complete and permanent deafness 50
17. Complete loss of the tongue or permanent dumbness 45
18. Loss of both feet from the heel or below the heel 45
19. Loss of the sexual organ 45
20. Loss of sight in one eye 45
21. Loss of the right hand from the wrist 38
22. Loss of the thumb or four fingers of the right hand 35
23. Loss of the left hand from the wrist 34
24. Loss of the thumb or four fingers from the left hand 25
25. 32 Loss of the one foot from the heel or below the heel 20
26. Loss of all toes in one foot including the big toe 20
27. Loss of three fingers of the right hand excluding the thumb 15
28. Loss of the right index finger 15
29. Loss of the distal phalanx of the right thumb 10
30. 37 Loss of the left index finger 10
31. 38 Loss of three fingers of the left hand excluding the thumb 10
32. 39 Loss of all toes in a foot excluding the left foot 10
33. Loss of the big toe 10
34. Loss of the distal phalanx of the left big toe 6
35. Loss of the middle finger in the right hand 6
36. Loss of the middle finger in the left hand 6
37. Loss of the ring finger in the right hand 6
38. 45 Loss of the ring finger in the left hand 6
39. Loss of the little finger in the right hand 6
40. Loss of any finger in the left hand 6
41. Loss of the distal phalanx of any finger excluding the thumb 5
42. Loss of the second phalanx of the index finger in the right hand 5
43. Loss of toes of the foot excluding the big one 5
44. Loss of one molar tooth 3
45. Loss of a canine tooth 2
1. A permanent total disability in the functions of any organ or part of the body shall be considered as a complete loss tothat part or organ.
2. If the injured person was left handed, all compensation for injuries of the left hand shall be considered as if they were for the right hand.
3. In the case of deformation or unnatural change to any organ or part of the body or any of the senses not mentioned in the list, the rate of disability shall be estimated by the Medical Board provided in Article (148) of this Law which shall take into consideration similar cases in the list.

Members of the Deceased Employee’s Family. If the widow (or widower) lives with the parents and offspring who were supported by the deceased, the compensation shall be divided as follows:
1. The widow (or widower) shall take one eighth and if there is more than one widow (or widower), the one eighth shall be divided equally among them, the parents shall take one third divided equally between them, but if either of the parents is dead then the mother shall take one sixth, and the father shall take one third and the rest for the offspring. If there are no children, the widow (or widower) shall take two thirds of the compensation (to be divided equally among them if there are more than one) and the father shall take the remainder. In cases where both parents are living they shall share that remainder equally. If both parents are dead, the widow (or widower) shall have one eighth of the compensation (to be divided equally among them if there is more than one widow) and the offspring shall get whatever remains. In cases where there are no children and no living parent, the widow (or widower) shall take the whole compensation. If there is more than one widow, the compensation shall be divided equally among them.
2. If there exists one or both of the parents and a child who were supported by a deceased employee who left behind no widow, the child shall take two thirds and the remaining third shall go to the parent or parents, who take equal shares.
3. In the absence of a widow (or widower), parents, brothers and sisters, the compensation shall be distributed equally among the children of the deceased. If there is only one child, he shall be paid the whole compensation.
4. If there are only parents, who were under his care, in the absence of a widow (or widower) and children, the compensation shall be divided equally between the parents. If there is only one, he or she shall take the whole compensation. Brothers and sisters who were supported by the employee at the time of his death shall be treated in the absence of parents, as parents.

Can I come on a visit or tourist visa to Dubai, find work and start working immediately ?

It is illegal to work on a visa other than a valid employment visa in Dubai. However, you may come on a visit or tourist visa and actively search for jobs in Dubai. Under recent legislation pertaining to employment visas, successful candidates who are hired by Dubai employers are required to exit the UAE pending release of their Employment Visas.

Clearly, any employer asking you to start work immediately or without a valid employment visa is not in compliance with legal requirements. If you choose to begin work without a valid employment visa, you:

1.give up you chances of using the Labour Code or having the Labour Ministry to mediate your case in the event of a dispute with your employer.

2.run the risk of being caught, fined and deported. You will also be blacklisted such that you may never return on an employment visa to the UAE. In many cases, illegal laborers spend jail time prior to deportation and their retina scans are kept active to effect the blacklisting.

Can I apply for an employment visa myself ?

No, you can’t do that on your own. Employment and residency in Dubai work within a system of sponsorship. An employer is the appropriate party to apply for an employment and residency visa for employees. This means you have to have been hired prior to the application for your employment visa.

How does the UAE’s system of sponsorship work ?

An employee’s designated sponsor for residency visa is their employer, whether the respective company is operating within or outside of Free Zones. Dubai or UAE residency is temporary and normally valid for three (3) years but may be renewed. The visa is stamped on the face of your passport.

UAE Laws require resident aliens (foreign nationals) to be primarily sponsored by a UAE national (citizen). UAE nationals may be direct private sponsors, as in the case of a UAE national hiring a domestic servant or, they may be indirect sponsors, as in the case of business employees. Businesses are able to sponsor their employees mainly because a UAE national is a partner, owner or a majority shareholder of the business-sponsor.

Besides being sponsored by my employer, how else can I get a UAE residency visa ?

You have three options:
1.Set up and register your own company in Dubai. Your business can then be your sponsor. Note however that you’ll be required to have a local partner, i.e., a UAE citizen.
2.Set up a consultancy off of a free zone to become eligible for both residency and work permits
3.Buy a property so that the property developer becomes your sponsor for residency. Note however that this does not entitle you to work in the UAE.

Can someone who is not a UAE national sponsor a resident ?

Yes. This is possible through secondary sponsorship. Secondary sponsors are sponsored residents, usually employed males who would like to have their wife and children live with them in the UAE.

Can women be secondary sponsors as well ?

Yes, women can sponsor their children if they’re divorced or widowed.

Can a married woman sponsor her husband and children ?

Yes, she can, but only under certain circumstances and with prior approval by both the Depart of Labour and the Department of Immigration and Naturalisation. Wives sponsoring husbands are not customary. In most cases, approval is granted if the wife-sponsor has a profession of strategic and economic importance such as teachers or medical personnel.

What are the qualifying criteria for secondary sponsors ?

Employed persons may sponsor only their immediate family, and must meet the minimum salary requirement for sponsorship. The consent and signature of the primary sponsor is required before an employee may sponsor their family.

Whose residency can I sponsor so that they can reside with me in the UAE ?

Your spouse. This means either your lawfully-wedded husband or wife. This does not include a same-sex partner, even if such person is a lawfully-wedded partner.

Your children. These are male and female offspring under 21 years or unmarried daughters over 21 years.

What does being a secondary sponsor mean ?

Secondary sponsors are responsible for their dependents whilst such dependents are residents of the UAE. This means you are responsible for their financial support, debts, if they incur any, and all aspects of life and living whilst they are under your sponsorship, including their conduct and behaviour.

Also, as their sponsor, you are responsible for the visa, processing fees and other related costs for obtaining the residency permit for your dependents. This is not your employer’s responsibility and they may not be obliged to assist you beyond giving their consent to your sponsorship. However, in some cases, employers may provide employees with visa-assistance benefits for employees to bring their families over.

Can I acquire permanent residency in the UAE ?

No, you can’t. Residency in the UAE is only temporary. However, it is renewable.

Can I acquire UAE citizenship ?

No, you can’t. An expatriate is not eligible for UAE citizenship. UAE citizens are defined by law to be only those persons born of parents who are both UAE citizens or born to a father who is a UAE citizen.

What happens to an expat’s child born in the UAE ?

The child takes on the citizenship of the parents who must then apply for temporary residency status for their child under the secondary sponsorship system within three months of birth.

What right does temporary residency NOT include ?

Temporary residency status is not concurrent with the right to work or seek employment in the UAE, nor does it guarantee employment. Sponsored children under 18 and freehold property owners over 60, whose residency is sponsored by the respective property development company, are not eligible for employment in the UAE. All other residents may go through the usual application process to be legally employed. Legal employment in the UAE is evidenced by the Labour Card.

I have a valid UAE residency visa. I’d like to spend some time in my home country. Will my visa still be valid when I return ?

Assuming your UAE residency visa is not expiring within the next six (6) months, you can stay outside of the UAE for at most six months and return on the same visa. Staying outside of the UAE for more than six months at a time automatically invalidates your UAE residency.

How do I get banned ?

A ban is a legal mechanism that prevents a resident or an employee from re-entering the country or from accepting a position with a new employer for a fixed period of time, usually for six (6) months. A permanent residency ban may be imposed on serious labour offenders, such as illegal or absconded workers, illegal aliens or convicted felons. Fingerprint samples and retina scans of banned individuals are kept on file by the Federal Department of Immigration. A labour ban is mandatory. You get banned when:

– Your contract expires and no action pertaining to your employment has been taken by your current employer, or no new application by a different employer is filed for you.
– You terminate an unlimited labour contract before completing one year of service.
– You terminate a limited labour contract before its expiration.

How do I NOT get banned ?

– Your current employer must have taken appropriate action with the Department of Labour to extend your employment with them prior to the expiration of your labour contract.
– Your sponsorship must have been transferred with a different employer. To effect this, certain conditions must be met, otherwise, your Labour Card will be cancelled and you will be banned.

How do I have my sponsorship transferred from one employer to the next ?

Your limited labour contract must have already expired or you must have performed at least one year of service under an unlimited labour contract. As your current sponsor is required to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC), they must have no objections to the transfer or their conditions must have been met prior to the issuance of such certificate. In any case, this is usually discussed by your current and prospective employers. The NOC is required for the transfer of your Labour Card and both must be filed with the Department of Labour. In addition, you can only transfer sponsorships under the same labour category. This simply means your new employment must be for the same position, e.g. Accountant to Accountant, Manager to Manager.

What is the NOC? Can my current employer be legally ordered to provide this document ?

A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is a formal letter by your current sponsor addressed to the Department of Labour and the Department of Naturalisation and Immigration to prevent you, the employee, from being banned after completion of your labour contract or in the process of transferring your sponsorship to a new employer. This is entirely discretionary and must be freely given by an employer. No employer may be forced to provide an employee with a NOC, under any circumstance, even after successful completion of a labour contract.

Reasons to choose Dubai

Job seekers are attracted to the Dubai market because of the fact that earnings are tax-free in Dubai. The UAE federal government and the Emirate of Dubai do not levy any kind of taxes on individual earnings. What you make is entirely yours. For individual income earners, this means having more to send back home or to save.

That’s why the Dubai job market is attracting talented professionals and skilled workers from all over the world. From Europe to America, even from Asia-Pacific and Africa, the Dubai workforce represents all five continents and over 100 countries. Besides tax-free earnings, individuals are attracted to jobs in Dubai for any or all of the following reasons:

– Career opportunities for talented professionals. Professionals looking to expand their practice or explore new markets, even those looking to take on a new career path, find excellent career opportunities in Dubai. Due to rapid development and expansion in the region, many multi-national companies are establishing Middle East headquarters and offshore locations in Dubai. These businesses are tapping into the global talent market that brings together the best of both worlds.
– Expanded opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled workers. Dubai’s most active industries – construction, hospitality and retail – are enjoying steady growth whilst these industries are almost dormant in neighboring countries. Workers with skills relevant to these industries are naturally attracted to jobs in Dubai where these job opportunities are not available back home.
– Experience the world in Dubai. There are at least a hundred different nationalities represented in Dubai’s community of residents and tourists. People from different parts of the world find themselves at home here because of the sense of familiarity they get. Hear people speak your native language. Walk into a grocery and find your favorite food. If you feel like exploring the exotic tastes of the Far East, Indian, Chinese and even Filipino restaurants are in town. Make new friendships with people whose backgrounds are entirely different from yours. Dubai’s cosmopolitan feel caters to fashion and trends all over the world.

Is Dubai tax free ?

Well, actually no, that is not true. While there are no income taxes, value-added taxes (VAT), gross sales taxes (GST), personal taxes, nor capital gains taxes in Dubai, there are in fact other types of taxes levied on certain activities such as:

– Municipal property tax levied on property owners. This tax is passed on to occupants as part of the rent agreement. In effect, if you live and work in Dubai, you are indirectly paying property taxes.
– Service charges collected at Dubai’s hotels and restaurants are also a form of indirect taxes.
– Import tax of 5% is levied on all imports to the UAE. This is perhaps the only formal, direct tax levied in the UAE, although goods such as tobacco, alcohol, pork products, raw gold for manufacture and arms and ammunition are subject to higher import tax rates. Even if you’re not the importer for these goods, the import tax is normally passed on to final consumers as part of selling prices.
– Road Taxes or Toll fees (SALIK). Some of Dubai’s major routes and thoroughfares are now collecting toll fees from motorists using these routes.
– Additionally, every single municipal or government sector service charges fees, even typing and translation services.

Cost of living in Dubai

If you’re planning to work and live in Dubai, that’s one of the basic questions you need to ask and find the answer to. It’s the fundamental information you need to know before you actually go hunting for a job. Unlike in some countries, there are no minimum wage rates or standardized salaries in Dubai.

What you would receive as compensation is largely dependent on how well you negotiate. Salary expectation is a basic question employers ask of applicants. It’s best to report to an interview with one specific figure, expressed in AED, in mind – the lowest monthly salary package you are willing to accept for any job you’re applying for.

Although this economic concept might involve a combination of many other factors, the quality of life you would have in Dubai is largely a factor of three things: your cost of living, lifestyle and your purchasing power. Since purchasing power is anchored on future earnings, it’s important to know what to expect in cost of living to give you a base figure for salary negotiations.

Accommodation

This is perhaps the largest single expense you would need to seriously take into consideration. Real estate is a thriving industry in Dubai as it becomes even more New York-like. Competing with commercial development, costs of residential buildings have gone up considerably in recent years. With the surge of businesses, the influx of foreign workers in Dubai has raised the demand for living spaces. Flats, villas and living quarters have become a scarce resource in Dubai because of the surge in demand. Therefore, rent is a huge consideration.

Depending on location, there are studio-type flats in Dubai that rent for under AED 3,500 a month. You’d find these in Deira or at Bur Dubai and in similar places. The high-end living options available at places like the Dubai Marina or Jumeirah start at AED 8,000 a month. Some people decide to share living space and split the cost. Other high-end compensation packages normally have company-provided villas or flats.

Transportation

Although Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority or RTA runs a very smooth operation, the number of passengers Dubai buses serve daily is just too much. The vehicle volume in Dubai’s main thoroughfares, particularly along Sheikh Zayed Road is overflowing at peak hours. Traffic is usually heavy, making it even more difficult for buses and taxis to turnaround quickly. Transportation is an issue in Dubai because many of Dubai’s business centers are located nowhere near residential areas.

Dubai bus fare is AED 2 per ride. Taxi fares start at AED 3. In Dubai, however, having your own car is the cheapest, fastest and the easiest mode of transport. People with international driving licenses have a definite edge as jobseekers. But all drivers are required to obtain a UAE driving license in due time. If you have neither a car nor a valid driving license, you have another option besides taxis and Dubai bus: car lifts. People who have their own cars usually ferry friends and officemates to and from work.

Food and Dining

This is probably the least of your concerns. Despite the inflation and the state of the world’s economy, food has remained affordable in Dubai across all salary levels. Eating out is another story. But that’s an experience even laborers at construction sites in the Industrial Areas in Al Quoz can afford from time to time.

Food is a wonderful, cultural experience in Dubai. Since the world is represented in this small community, you’d find all sorts of exotic and delectable options. Chances are, you’d even find your favorite dish, whether that’s Indian Biryani or Italian pasta. Cost is not an issue. People in Dubai are blessed in that respect. Everyone can afford to eat anything they fancy. Whether you feel better cooking your own meals or you prefer ordering it from Dubai’s vast selection of restaurants, you’d find what you like here.

Job Hunting

A key housing point to remember in interviews is to ask your employer if they provide their staff with free accommodation. There are companies in Dubai that offer free accommodation in staff houses even to their rank-and-file employees. Especially for job hunters that would fall in the low-income range, it is always good to join companies that provide free accommodation because the housing always comes with food allowances and transport service. As part of salary packages, cost of living allowances given in the form of free accommodation and transport service is a better option. It frees you from making these necessary arrangements yourself.