Dubai: If you have not shown up to work for seven consecutive days without any valid reason and have not informed your employer, you may have an absconding case against you.
This is as per Article 6 of the Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022, where if the employer is unable to communicate with a worker or is unaware of the worker’s whereabouts, the employer is entitled to file an absconding report, which is officially referred to as an Unexpected Work Abandonment (UWA) report.
But, what if you have just found out from a former colleague that such a report was filed against you? How can you find out if this is true? And how does an absconding case affect a UAE-based worker? Gulf News spoke with legal experts in the UAE to find out
How do I know if I have an absconding case against me?
There are two government authorities that you can reach out to, to find out if you have an absconding case against you:
1. Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation (MOHRE) or,
2. General Directorate of Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in your Emirate.
Explaining when you should reach out to either of these two authorities, Ibrahim Khaleel Arimala, Managing Partner and senior legal consultant at Dubai-based law firm Musaab Ali Al-Naqbi Advocates and Legal Consultants, said: “An employee with their labour card details can check with MOHRE if they have an absconding case filed against them. You can also contact the immigration department in your Emirate, as long as you have a valid UAE residence visa,”
If you do not have your labour card with you, you can access a digital version of your labour card, through the MOHRE mobile app.
Recently, MOHRE also introduced a WhatsApp account for customer support, which you can use to raise your query. The Whatsapp service number is - 600590000.
Can my employer file a UWA even if I am outside the UAE?
According to Arimala, an absconding case cannot be filed when an employee is outside UAE. The employee has to be present in the UAE.
Can I leave the UAE while there is an absconding case against me?
Arimala also explained that if the employee is present in the UAE, they will be backlisted by the authorities and prevented from travelling outside the UAE.
An absconding case cannot be filed when an employee is outside the UAE. If the absconding case is filed against an employee who is present in the UAE, a travel ban is activated […]and the employee cannot travel [out of the UAE].
Can I stay in the UAE after an absconding case is filed against them?
According to Mohamed Noureldin, founder and senior legal consultant at UAE-based Nour Attorneys, stated that an employee can stay in the UAE as long as they have a valid residency visa.
“As long the employee holds a valid visa in the UAE, he can stay in the country. But, if there is an absconding case against him or her, then we expect the employee to report to MOHRE and/or the immigration department and file for a request to remove the absconding case against them,” Noureldin said.
As long the employee holds a valid visa in the UAE, he can stay in the country. But, if there is an absconding case against him or her, then we expect the employee to report to MOHRE and/or the immigration department and file for a request to remove the absconding case against them.
Can I get another job while the case is still active?
If you have an active absconding case against you, it can also make it difficult to find new job in the UAE, according to Noureldin.
“Any transactions like issuing of a work permit or residency visa in the labour or immigration department are frozen until the absconding case is removed,” Noureldin said.
So, even if you find a job vacancy, your new employer will be unable to apply for a work permit or work visa unless the absconding case is removed.
If the case is not cancelled, then, according to the UAE Labour Law, you would normally face a one-year labour ban after a UWA is filed against you.
How can I remove an absconding report against me?
If you have evidence that you were absent from work for a legitimate reason and can prove your presence at work or that you sufficiently informed your employer of your leave, you can request for the cancellation of the absconding report.
Article 7 of the resolution, titled 'Cancellation of Unexpected Work Abandonment Report' lists out situations when MOHRE may cancel a UWA complaint, at the request of the employer or the employee.
To know more, click here to find out the five situations when an absconding report can be appealed.
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