Companies in Dubai that employ foreign workers are responsible for terminating that employee’s residence visa and work permit upon termination of the contract of employment.
There are several circumstances under which an employee/employer relationship may be terminated. Depending on these circumstances, and what employment contract is in effect, the terms will vary.
Here is a general overview of the cancellation of employment visas in Dubai.
WHAT DOES AN EMPLOYEE VISA TERMINATION INCLUDE?
Terminating an employee visa is an involved process, and the employer will handle the lion’s share of the work. It begins with the employer beginning the process of cancelling the visa and work permit with the Department of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai (DNRD).
The General Directorate of Residence and Foreign Affairs must be presented with the cancellation application (signed by both parties), copies of the sponsor’s and employee’s passport, and the employee’s Emirates ID card. The employee’s Emirates ID card will be seized, their passport will be stamped, and they will have a 30-day grace period settle their affairs and leave the UAE.
In most cases, the employer is also responsible for closing and/or cancelling the employee’s credit cards, bank accounts, phone subscriptions, utility accounts, company housing accommodations, and other items that fall under the jurisdiction of the employer’s original sponsorship of that employee.
If the employee is changing jobs and wishes to stay in Dubai, it is their responsibility to try and negotiate with their original employer to retain some or all of these things. It’s important to note that if an employer grants an employee a No Objection Certificate (NOC), the employee can transfer sponsorship to their new employer, and get a new permit issued by the Ministry of Labour, if applicable to the individual.
WHEN CAN AN EMPLOYEE VISA BE TERMINATED?
In the UAE, employment contracts can be terminated for a variety of bases, whether it’s a Limited Employment Contract, an Unlimited Employment Contract, or the contract is terminated without notice. Let’s take a look at all three instances.
Generally, A Limited Employment Contract (with a term no longer than 2 years) can be terminated for reasons including the following:
- The contract term expires, and is not renewed
- Both the employer and employee agree in writing to end the contract
- The employee is in violation as set forth in Article 120 of the Labour Law
Early termination of a Limited Employment Contract may be initiated by either party if they: give 1-3 months notice, honour the obligations of the contract during the notice period, and compensate the other party pursuant to the contract for up to 3 months’ gross wages.
An Unlimited Employment Contract can generally be terminated if both parties agree in writing, or:
- Only one party decides to terminate the contract. That party must give notice (1-3 months) and continue to fulfil their obligations in accordance to the contract throughout the notice period.
- One party terminates the contract without notice, and bears legal consequences of terminating the contract early and without compliance to the contract.
In some cases, Termination Without Notice may be initiated by either party in either a Limited, or Unlimited Employment Contract.
When an employer initiates a termination without notice, it may be for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to):
- misrepresentation or false identity
- failure to perform duties
- revealing confidential business information
- termination during or directly following probationary period
- substance abuse
- excessive absences
When an employee terminates the contract without notice, the basis may be due to:
- the employer’s failure to pay wages for more than 60 days
- the employer reneging on a contractual obligation
- the inability by an employer to secure employment for the worker
- a favourable ruling in Labour Court in the employee’s favour
WHEN AN EMPLOYEE RESIGNS
When an employee chooses to end an employment contract, the employer is obligated to accept their resignation, and begin the process of cancelling their employment visa and work permit.
If the employer fails to do so, the employee is entitled to contact the Ministry of Labour and file a complaint against them.
For those employees that desire to leave the country (at least for a time), they should ensure that their visa and work permit has been properly cancelled before they leave the emirates. This will avoid any problems for the employee to return back to the UAE to work again in the future, if they desire.
COMPENSATION AFTER TERMINATION
When an employer hires an expatriate, they incur all costs regarding securing the employee’s visa and work permit.
If an employee resigns (after working for at least 6 months), they are not obligated to reimburse that employer any costs incurred securing that visa or work permit.
MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL
The fact is, doing business in the UAE means having to deal with governmental agencies a great deal. So much time and energy must be devoted to managing red tape associated with expatriates in the workforce.
Cancelling an employee visa is a serious matter with legal and financial ramifications if not handled correctly. Labour laws and regulations in Dubai and throughout the UAE are very complex, and are constantly changing to evolve with the labour market.
With so much on the line, and so little time and energy to go around, it just makes sense for businesses to concentrate on core aspects of their business, and leave the tedious governmental processes to a PRO.
The information covered here is for general educational purposes only. One should never substitute it for the professional advice of an experienced PRO (public relations officer) who is very familiar with the labour laws and processes of termination visas in the UAE. Learn how ACT’s Corporate PRO packages can help companies reduce internal administrative costs up to 60%