Part 1 – Introduction & Everything You Need To Know About Getting A Work Permit In The UAE
Expats from all over the world have been, and are attracted to seeking career opportunities in the UAE. In fact our managing partners have done so.
As a result of fielding many enquiries about living and working there, how to secure a position etc we thought we would produce a series of blog posts to answer the many questions.
We will publish a weekly blog post every Saturday to provide you with some lazy weekend reading for a period of time, chunking down everything you need to know about working in the UAE.
So here we go, let’s start with:
- A snapshot of the UAE, and
- The work permit.
The United Arab Emirates, is a country in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula sitting on the Persian Gulf. The monarchy is a federation of seven (7) emirates comprising the capital Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Each emirate is governed by a ruler. In 2013 the population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million were Emirati citizens and 7.8million expats. That’s a whopping expat population of 83%, so there’s a well worn track leading there regardless of where you come from.
If you are an expatriate and want to work in the UAE, then you cannot do so without a visa
It starts with securing a position, which can be achieved via a range of classified sites, or by engaging with a recruitment consultancy such as “The Aristos Group”. Generally securing a position occurs in one of three ways:
- Securing a position from overseas;
- Already there on a visit/tourist visa and find a job; or
- Already have a job there but are moving to another company.
Regardless of how you secure the position here is the process:
- Obtaining a ‘work permit’ from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).
- The employer who is the sponsoring company has to bring you in on this permit first, following which they will convert it into a residency visa.
- The work permit allows the holder to enter the UAE for employment, and it is valid for two months from the date of issue.
- After the employee enters the UAE on the basis of the work permit, the sponsoring company arranges to complete the formalities of medical testing, obtaining UAE Resident Identity (Emirates ID) Card, Labour Card and stamping the UAE Residency Visa on your passport within 60 days.
- The UAE Residency Visa on the employee’s passport denotes the passport holder is sponsored by the company he/she is employed by.
- All costs for the Work Permit, medical testing, Emirates ID and UAE Residency Visa are borne by the employer.
- After the employee receives a visa, he/she can sponsor his/her family members and bring them into the country.
- If you are on a tourist/visit visa, then you can obtain a work permit by exiting the UAE, be it to a neighbouring or your home country. There are airlines offering this ‘visa run’ facility on the Dubai-Oman-Dubai leg, such as Air Arabia and Fly Dubai.
- The other option for the company is that the status can be changed inside the country through a ‘Changed Status’ process by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDFRA) of the emirate that the company is located in, which works in tandem with the federal authority MoHRE.
Signing employment contract from abroad:
- If you are hired from overseas, the MoHRE and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation have set up centres outside the UAE. At the centres, you are able to discover your rights, duties and terms and conditions of employment and all privileges, in the language you understand.
- This mechanism ensures a transparent contractual relationship between employers and employees and prevents any fraudulent attempt to replace job offers upon the arrival of the employee in the UAE.
What are the documents a company will need from you to apply for a work permit?
- A colour photograph with a white background.
- A copy of your passport, which has to be valid for a minimum of six months.
- If evidence of academic qualifications is required (post-secondary diploma, university degree or equivalent), a copy authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the home country is necessary.
- A letter of approval from the relevant authority is necessary in case of a physician, pharmacist, nurse, and teacher (your employer will guide you on it).
- You cannot be below the age of 18 years.
- Your qualifications have to be commensurate with the company’s activity.
If everything is in order and your employer has followed the due process, you should get a work permit issued within two weeks.
Age Limits – You cannot get a work permit if you are below 18 years however there is no maximum age limit.
- The UAE’s Labour Law No. 8 of 1980, as amended does not specify a particular age to terminate employment contracts on the basis of age or seniority.
- As per Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), the fees for issuing an initial approval for a work permit for those who are 65 and above is AED 5,000 every two years.
So there you have it – The first step in the journey. See you next week.
Between now and then we suggest you have a look at the video below, have a look online at different sites for suitable positions, conduct due diligence on cost of living, local laws etc, check out our “JOBS” and “ABOUT” page and also have a read of a previous BLOG Post on our service offering and contact us for a confidential discussion if you wish.
Have a great weekend.