Dubai: Is your employer delaying the issuance or renewal of your work permit? If you are working for a company in the UAE, it is illegal to do so without a valid work permit. However, there are certain situations when an employer is not considered late in applying for a work permit.
According to a new ministerial decree issued by the by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), there are seven cases under which an employer is allowed to delay the application of a work permit.
MOHRE has been issuing several Ministerial Resolutions or decrees following the implementation of the new UAE Labour Law. These decrees provide further details on how the law will be implemented. Ministerial Decree No. 46 of 2022 was issued by MOHRE earlier this year 'Regarding Work Permits, Job Offers and Employment Contract Forms'. The decree looks at the regulations that govern the issuance of work contracts and Article 3 of the decree provides details on the exceptional cases when an employer is not considered late in issuing or renewing the work permit.
Firstly, it is important to understand how a work permit is issued and the difference between a work permit and work visa.
Work visa: Any expatriate living in the UAE needs to have a residence visa, which may be sponsored by either their employer or a family member. If your company is your sponsor, you would be living in the UAE on a work visa. After the employee enters the UAE on the basis of the work permit, the sponsoring company arranges to complete the formalities of medical testing, obtaining UAE Resident Identity (Emirates ID) Card, Labour Card and stamping the UAE Residency Visa on his passport within a scope of 60 days.
It is important to note that from April 11, residence visas will no longer be stamped on expatriate residents' passports. According to the announcement by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, Emirates IDs will be enough to serve as proof of the expat's residency.
When should an employer apply for my work permit?
According to Article 6 (1) of the new UAE Labour Law - Federal Decree-Law No.33 of 2021 - it is not permissible for an employee to work in the UAE and the employer may not recruit or employ any worker, except after obtaining a work permit from the Ministry.
According to Article 60 (1) of the labour law, if a company does not obtain a work permit for an employee, they will be sentenced to a fine of no less than Dh50,000 and no more than Dh200,000.
When can my work permit be delayed?
Article (3) - Exceptional cases for the issuance or renewal of work permits
If you are wondering why you may not have received your work permit in time, it is important to note that the law provides very specific exceptional cases when an employer may not be considered late in issuing or renewing the work permit.
According to Article 3 of Ministerial Decree No. 46 of 2022, the employer is not considered late in issuing and renewing the work permit in the following cases:
1. A worker who left the country and has been outside the country for more than six months, or his/her residence visa expired while being outside the country and his/her work permit expired after the date of departure.
2. A worker whose work permit has expired after being expelled by order, court ruling, or administrative decision from the competent authorities. This is for the period from the date of arrest or the date of deportation, whichever is earlier excluding other periods.
3. In case of the workers’ death or if the worker suffers from a contagious disease that prevents him/her from working.
4. A worker whose work permit has expired or the Ministry referred his/her complaint to the court, for the period from the date of referral, excluding any other previous periods.
5. A worker who left the country during the settlement period is determined by the competent authorities.
6. An imprisoned or detained worker whose work permit expired during his imprisonment or detention period, for the period of imprisonment or detention.
7. Death of the owner of the establishment who is the sole manager, for a maximum period of three months from the date of death until a legal representative is duly appointed to manage the establishment by agreement of the heirs.