Thanks to the stable economy and employment opportunities that the UAE has, it is considered a good country to settle down in. Due to the prosperous living scenario, it shows many foreign nationals want to start working there. However, starting to work legally may require some permits; for this reason, many tourists have had the idea of working without a work permit in the UAE.
In this article, we will discuss what the work permit is about, what you need to start working in the UAE, and the consequences of working without a work permit in the UAE. Find out more about the content below:
- What is a work permit in the United Arab Emirates?
- Is it possible to work without a work permit in the UAE?
- Why can’t you apply for a job in the UAE on a tourist visa?
- How to know when is the right time to change visa status?
- Is it illegal to work without a work permit in the UAE?
- Consequences of working without a work permit in the UAE if you are an employee.
- Consequences of hiring without a work permit in the UAE if you are an employer.
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What is a work permit in the United Arab Emirates?
We know that the United Arab Emirates has a growing economy that attracts entrepreneurs from all over the world looking to invest or grow their businesses. Even more so if in the process they can avoid paying taxes and the high fees they have to pay when setting up a business. However, a business cannot develop on its own; it needs a workforce to accomplish its goals.
Usually, companies bring professional employees from abroad to work in the company. But to work legally in the UAE they must first get a work permit and a residence visa. Otherwise, they would be breaking the laws of the UAE which would result in consequences such as fines for the company and shareholders, and even deportation of the workers.
For this reason, it is necessary for the employer to apply for the work permit of its employees and to pay all the costs for obtaining the permits. In addition, the employer must ensure that all documents of its employees are in order.
In the case of those who were previously working in the UAE, the employer must apply for the transfer of employment to avoid sanctions. It is important to recall that the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) is the entity that issues the work permits and the employer must apply for them there.
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These are the requirements you need to fulfill to get the work permit in the UAE:
As mentioned before, if the employee decides to work without a work permit in the UAE, the state can sanction him and the owner of the company as well. For this reason, here are the requirements that you must fulfill to obtain the work permit:
- Visa and documentation up to date: It is necessary to have a residence visa, this is essential to apply for a work permit and avoid working without a work permit in the UAE. It is worth bearing in mind that the worker cannot work in the UAE with a tourist visa. So, the employer must make sure to change the status of the visa.
- The Emirates ID.
- Passport photos and copies: You must attach a valid passport photo.
- The application form: To apply for the work permit in the UAE the employee or employer must fill out a form.
- Current health certificate: The applicant for the work permit must undergo medical examinations when arriving in the UAE.
- The entry permit was issued by the Ministry of Labor.
- Proof of payment: Once the payment has been made, the proof of payment must be submitted together with the other documents of the application.
In addition, the employer must submit a copy of the company’s commercial license and a valid copy of the company’s business card.
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Procedure to follow to obtain the work permit in UAE.
As working without a work permit in UAE is not allowed here is the procedure to follow to obtain the work permit. Pay attention to the following steps:
Step 1: Obtain the entry visa.
To start the process, employers must apply to the Ministry of Labor for an entry visa and work permit for foreign nationals. Once the permit and visa are approved, employees must enter the UAE within the next two months. Usually, the approval process takes three working days.
Step 2: Obtain the employment contract with signature.
Employers must submit to the Ministry of Labor a contract drafted in English, Arabic, and the foreign national’s native language. This contract must contain the job offer and the employee’s signature. It is worth bearing in mind that the process takes up to 3 working days.
Step 3: Approval of the work permit application.
To obtain the employee’s entry visa it is first necessary to get a work permit. In this case, the Ministry of Labor studies the situation and only grants the permit if the following conditions are met:
· The employer has a company legally registered in the UAE.
· There are no UAE nationals available to perform the work.
Step 4: Obtain the employment entry visa.
Once the work permit is obtained, the Ministry of Labor issues an employment entry visa known as a pink visa. With this visa foreign nationals can enter the UAE and move around the territory. The visa has an extendable term of 2 months which allows the employee to complete all the work permit procedures.
Step 5: Medical examinations, biometric procedure, and work permit.
It is necessary that once entering the UAE territory, employees start with the formalities to obtain the work permit. These include medical examinations, complying with the biometric procedure, obtaining a bank account, residence visa, and work permit.
Is it possible to work without a work permit in the UAE?
As the UAE economy is getting better and better, many citizens from other parts of the world want to migrate to Dubai or any other major city in the UAE. And since getting a job from abroad is more complicated; a lot of tourists wonder if they can work without a work permit in the UAE.
Given the above, many expatriates opt to get a tourist visa to travel to the UAE and get a job. However, it is not possible to work without a work permit in the UAE. In case the employer asks you to work without a work permit both of you may face severe penalties.
The reality is that all foreigners who want to work in the UAE must work for a company that has their papers in order. In addition, they must have a residence visa, an entry permit, and a work permit.
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Why can’t you apply for a job in the UAE on a tourist visa?
Because the UAE offers good employment opportunities, many foreigners have the idea of migrating to the country to work on a tourist visa. And although this idea may seem attractive, it is not something that they should do.
Since for many tourists the idea of leaving the country becomes difficult after getting to know the place. The UAE government has implemented rules to control illegal workers and avoid illegal jobs. So, to avoid fines they must avoid working without a work permit in the UAE.
With a tourist visa, expatriates can look for a job; however, they cannot start working with it. Ideally, once they get a job, their employer should start the process to change their visa status. This way they can get used to the culture and get a job without breaking the laws of the country.
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How to know when is the right time to change visa status?
If tourists are visiting the UAE and decide that they want to live and work, there. Then they should start looking for a job that fits their skills, abilities, and needs. Once they get the job, they should start the process for the change of visa status.
In this sense, if expatriates want to work in Dubai without a work permit, they should understand that the State could penalize them and deport them. In these cases, the perfect situation is to get the job and change the visa status. This way the employee and employer will be able to work together without running the risk of paying a fine.
Is it illegal to work without a work permit in the UAE?
It is important to know as an expatriate that working without an employment visa in UAE is illegal. Although the implications can be not only for the employee but also for the employer. A working permit in the UAE is one of the main requirements to work in the country as a foreigner, which means that if you fail to comply with it, you will face legal consequences.
Because of the UAE legislation, which governs everything related to immigration within the country, it is not possible to conduct illegal business. And the truth is, the government considers it illegal to have employees working without a work permit in the UAE.
The case is so serious that the UAE government established a decree-law and increased the fine to be paid by those who break this law. According to the law, employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees have valid visas and permits.
If they do not comply with the decree, the owners of the company will face deportation or receive a jail sentence; although this will depend on whether they are UAE citizens or not. In other words, if the employers allow a worker to start working without an employment visa in UAE, they will be in violation of the laws.
Consequences of working without a work permit in the UAE if you are an employee.
If you are an expatriate and you decide to work without a work permit in the UAE, be aware that you will face serious consequences. Some of them are:
- You may be imposed a work ban.
- Receive a punishment of at least one month in jail, but this is a period that can be extended.
- The State may impose a fine of up to AED 10,000.
- The foreign national may be deported.
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Consequences of hiring without a work permit in the UAE if you are an employer.
If you have a business and decide to hire employees who are not UAE nationals and who do not have a work permit you may face the following:
- The government may impose a minimum fine of AED 10,000 per employee.
- If you are a foreign citizen, the government could deport you and ban you from entering the country. If you are a citizen, you could spend up to 6 months in jail.
- The Ministry of Labor may impose a fine of up to AED 50,000 per employee.
- If you continue despite the penalties, the Court will double the fines.
- If the employer has not reprimanded the employee after repeated warnings, the Court may initiate criminal proceedings.
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