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The responsibility of the cancellation of employee visas and work permits upon termination of employment in UAE, falls on the employer. In other words, the company that employs a foreign worker is responsible for employment visa cancellation in UAE.

There are many circumstances for the termination of an employee/employer relationship. The terms will vary, depending on these circumstances and the type of employment contract.


Here is a general overview of the employment visa cancellation in UAE.

Terminating an employee visa is an involved process, and the employer will handle the lion’s share of the work. It starts with the employer beginning the process of cancelling the visa and work permit. The General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) does the cancellation. Then, present the cancellation application (signed by both parties) to the GDRFA.

Along with, copies of the sponsor’s and employee’s passport, and the employee’s Emirates ID card. The GDRFA cancels the employee’s Emirates ID card. They then, provide the employee with a visa cancellation sheet. After which, the employee has a 30-day grace period to settle their affairs and leave the UAE.

In most cases, it is the responsibility of the employee to close and cancel their bank accounts and credit cards. The employee is also responsible for cancelling their phone subscriptions, utility accounts, and company housing accommodations. Also, any 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 to retain some or all of these things with their original employer. It is 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.


Termination of employment in UAE can be for various reasons. It can be a Limited Employment Contract, an Unlimited Employment Contract. Even a contract termination without notice. Let us take a look at all three instances:


Generally, termination of a Limited Employment Contract (with a term no longer than 2 years) can be for the following reasons:

  • 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 vis Article 120 of the Labour Law.
  • In order to initiate early termination of a Limited Employment Contract by either party, they need to give each other 1-3 months notice. And also, honour the obligations of the contract during the notice period. They will also need to compensate either party pursuant to the contract for up to 3 months’ gross wages.


Termination of An Unlimited Employment Contract is possible if:

  • Both, the employer and employee mutually agree to terminate the contract.
  • When either party decides, at any time, to terminate the contract. Provided the terminating party abides by the legal notice requirements. Also continues to honour his obligations for the duration of the notice period, which cannot be less than one month and no longer than three months.
  • When either party acts unilaterally to terminate the contract, without complying with the legal notice. Also without reasons of default by the other party. In this case, the terminating party bears the legal consequences of early termination.
  • In some cases, either party in a Limited or Unlimited Employment Contract, initiates the termination of employee visas / employment visa cancellation in UAE without notice.


When an employer initiates a termination without notice, it may be for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to):

  •  Adopts a false identity or nationality or if he or she submits forged documents or certificates.
  • Appointment was under a probationary period and dismissal occurred during or at the end of said period.
  • Commits an error causing substantial material loss to the employer. Provided, the latter advises the labour department of the incident within 48 hours from having knowledge of the same.
  • Violates instructions concerning the safety of the place of business. Provided, such instructions are displayed in writing at conspicuous places or verbally informed to an illiterate employee.
  • Fails to perform his or her basic duties under the employment contract. And violates the contract repeatedly. Despite formal investigations and warnings of dismissal given to him or her on repetition.
  • Divulges any secrets of the establishment where he or she is employed.
  • Awarded final judgment by the competent court in respect of an offense prejudicing honour, honesty, or public morals.
  • Found drunk during working hours or under the influence of prohibited drugs.
  • In the course of his work, commits an assault on the employer, the manager, or any of his colleagues.
  • Absent himself without lawful excuse for more than 20 intermittent days or for more than seven successive days, during the year.


An employee can terminate an employment contract without a notice period if:

  • The employer has failed to meet contractual or legal obligations towards the worker. For example, if he fails to pay wages for a period exceeding 60 days.
  • The employee has filed a court complaint against an employer who has failed to secure the employment of the worker. For example, in case of a business shutdown or if the business has been inactive for a period exceeding two months.
  • A favourable ruling at the Labour Court in the employee’s favour. For a labour complaint referred to the Labour Court by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation.


It is the obligation of the employer to accept an employee’s resignation if the employee chooses to end an employment contract. The employer can then begin the process of cancelling the employee’s employment visa and work permit. If the employer fails to do so, the employee can contact the Ministry of Labour and file a complaint against them.

Employees that wish to leave the country, even if it is just for some time, he or she should ensure that their visa and work permit have been properly cancelled before they leave the emirates. This will avoid any problems for the employee if they decide to return to the UAE to work again in the future.


Upon termination of his or her employment contract, an employee has to apply for the cancellation of his dependent’s visas. Example, spouse, children & domestic help. Before his or her employer applies for the cancellation of his visa / employment visa cancellation in UAE. This is not necessary in the event of a transfer of sponsorship.


When an employer hires an expatriate, they incur all costs on securing the employee’s visa and work permit. If an employee resigns, they are not obligated to reimburse that employer any costs incurred securing the visa or work permit. However, this is the case only, if, the employee has worked for at least 6 months.


After termination of employment in UAE and cancellation of work visa, the terminated employee gets a 30-day grace period from the date of cancellation. The terminated employee can either obtain a new residence permit or leave the country during the grace period. An illegal resident is either fined or deported.


The fact is, doing business in the UAE means having to deal with government agencies a great deal. One has to devote a lot of time and energy to manage red tape associated with expatriates in the workforce. Labour laws and regulations in Dubai and throughout the UAE are very complex. They are constantly changing to evolve with the labour market. Cancelling an employment visa is a serious matter. It can levy legal and financial ramifications if not handled correctly.

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 leaving the tedious governmental processes to a PRO service provider. Check also other ACT Services.

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 terminating employee visas in the UAE. Learn how ACT’s Corporate PRO services can help companies reduce internal administrative costs up to 60%.