Thursday, 2 August 2012

UAE Employment Visa Process

In order to obtain an employment visa the following documents need to be submitted to the Immigration

Authority by the intending employer in the UAE:

• The employee’s passport copy
• Two passport size photographs

• The approval letter received from the Ministry of Labour

• Copy of the immigration card, and the original for verification.
• A copy of the business’s trade licence

• The appropriate fee (currently AED 100) and an additional AED 100 if urgent.

Once the employment visa is obtained, a copy should be sent to the employee and the original lodged at the airport at least two hours before the employee’s arrival. When the employee enters the country, the sponsor will need to arrange for the employee’s residence permit.

Medical Test

For the purposes of fulfilling the necessary immigration requirements, i.e. obtaining a labour card and a residence permit, the employee must undergo a medical test and obtain a medical certificate and health card after arriving into in the country. The medical test should be conducted at the government hospital in the emirate where the employee’s employment visa was issued. It is necessary for the employee to take the following with him when
he goes for his medical test:


• A copy of his passport

• A copy of the employment visa

• Four passport size photographs

• The appropriate fee (currently AED 200 - AED 500 for health test fees and AED 300 for health card, valid for one year)

Labor Card

Once a medical certificate has been issued an application for a labour card should be made to the Ministry of labour & Social Affairs within 30 days of the employee’s entry into the UAE by submitting the following documents:

• The completed prescribed application form typed and submitted through Injaz programme.
• The contract of employment between the employee and the employer
• Two passport photographs of the employee

• Copy of the medical certificate

• A copy of the business’s trade licence

• A copy of the business’s Ministry of labour card (see section 2.4)

• Copy of the visa.

Residence Permits

Once the employee enters the UAE on an employment visa, an application for a residence permit should be made to the Immigration Authority by submitting the following documents:

• A copy of the receipt of submitting the transaction to the Ministry of Labour

• The completed prescribed application form typed and submitted through Injaz programme

• The original medical certificate

• The employee’s original passport

• The original employment visa issued to the employee

• A copy of the sponsor’s passport (if the sponsor is an individual)

• A copy of the business’s trade licence

• A copy of the immigration card of the business
• Two passport size photographs of the employee

• The appropriate fee (currently AED 300 or AED 400 if the application is urgent).

The above requirements should be satisfied within 60 days of the employee’s entry into the UAE on his employment visa.

If these requirements are not completed within the time limit stated above, a fine of AED 25 will be payable for each day until the procedures are completed and AED 500 for Ministry of Labour.


 Residence Visas & Permits

Once a non-UAE national enters the UAE and intends to live in the UAE indefinitely for whatever purposes, he should obtain a residence permit as distinct from a residence visa. This will be stamped in the applicant’s passport.

A residence visa allows a person to enter the UAE only once within two months of its date of issue. Therefore, if after getting a residence visa the applicant does not use it within two months, he will have to extend it (AED 100) for an additional 30 days after which he will have to apply for a new one. The period of permissible stay in the country is sixty days from the date of entry into the UAE. Therefore, applications for a residence permit should
be submitted before the expiry of this time.
A residence visa is required for those who wish to enter the UAE with the intention of living indefinitely with,say, their husbands who are already resident in the country. Those entering the UAE for employment and intending to reside in the country do not require a residence visa as in most instances the intending employerwill act as sponsor and their entry into the country will be on an employment visa.A residence permit, on the other hand, allows the applicant to live in the country for three years. This is the normal period granted in practice. However, legally speaking, the Immigration Authority may issue residence permits for shorter periods but not shorter than one year. As stated above, it is necessary for everyone intending to live in the UAE indefinitely to apply for a residence permit upon entry into the country.

There are two types of residence permits: the residence permit for or with employment and the residence permit without employment. The former, as stated above, is normally granted for a period of three years. The latter is applicable, for instance, to a foreign resident sponsoring his family. The period of residence granted varies depending on who the sponsor is. For instance, the period of residence granted to those who are sponsored by
 non-UAE nationals (not in the capacity of an employer) such as a relative or spouse, is limited to that person’s period of residence, after which the person must leave the country.

It should be noted that whichever residence permit one obtains, if the holder spends more than six months out
of the country the permit becomes invalid. However, the following are some of the persons exempted from this rule (their residence permit will expire at the end of the period originally granted):

• Foreign wives of UAE nationals

• Those travelling for medical reasons. In this case a medical report is required which must  be attested and certified by the Ministry of Health
• Those studying at universities and other educational institutions abroad

• Those working for public authorities or other public sector establishments who have been sent abroad for training/ professional courses or to work in their branches. The families of such persons are also exempt.

As we shall see below, once a person obtains a residence permit and provided he satisfies certain other conditions, he can sponsor some individuals who wish to visit the country, such as members of his family.

The law limits persons who may apply for a residence permit. They are basically those who can seek sponsorship by either an individual who is resident in the UAE or other legal entities in the UAE, such as a company, for employment purposes. Article 28 of the Decree lists the persons who may reside in the UAE

(providing they are sponsored) as follows:

• Persons joining their family supporter or guardian such as the children of a foreign resident, in which case the latter will act as the sponsor. However, foreign residents may only act as sponsors on their children’s behalf if, in the case of sons, they are under the age of 18 years and in the case of daughters, if they are not married. In the case of married daughters the husband will normally act as sponsor. Males who are over the age of 18 may obtain sponsorship for residence purposes either through an educational establishment they are studying at or through their employer.

• Persons studying at a college/ university or institution in the UAE.

• Persons attending or intending to attend a training course at a public establishment or department.
• Foreign women who are divorced from their UAE national husbands provided they have one or more sons from them.

• Parents and sons of UAE nationals who hold foreign passports.

• Husbands and sons of UAE nationals who hold foreign passports.
• Foreign wives of nationals of GCC countries residing in the GCC states of their husbands.
• Family members of foreign women who are employed (for a period of at least one year) in one of the following professions: teaching, medicine, engineering or other similar professions, which require a university degree or a specialized course.

In addition to the above, the sponsoring foreign resident must meet the minimum salary requirements as stipulated under Article 31 of the Decree i.e. receive a minimum monthly salary of AED 3,000 plus accommodation provided by his employer of AED 1000 or at least AED 4,000 without accommodation.

Teachers, leaders of mosques and bus drivers who transport students to school, university or other educational establishments are exempt from this requirement.

Light car drivers & domestic helpers and labourers are not allowed to sponsor persons for entering the country even if they meet the salary requirements.

Resident Permits for Persons other than Employees
Resident permit applications for persons living abroad are made either at the Immigration Authority or at the UAE

Embassy/Consulate abroad:

The documents required for such applications will depend on who the applicant is. Below is a list of these documents according to the category of the applicant, which must be submitted, in addition to the relevant prescribed form provided by the Immigration Authority typed and submitted through Injaz programme; the applicant’s passport (and copy), a medical report, two passport size photographs of the applicant and the appropriate fee (currently AED 300).

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