Stock office staff in Dubai
Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: If you work in a free zone in Dubai and you are dealing with issues such as unpaid wages, problems with overtime pay, or late salary payments, you have the right to file a labour complaint.

However, the process for filing the complaint is slightly different for free zone workers because most free zones in the UAE have their own employment regulations, according to legal experts who spoke to Gulf News.

If you are considering moving forward with a labour complaint, here's everything you need to know about the process for free zone workers.

Labour Law regulations in free zones?

While most UAE free zones have independent employment regulations, these generally align with the UAE Labour Law.

“Every free zone has its respective employment rules which are in concurrence with the UAE Labour Law, except the companies located in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) jurisdiction. There is a separate labour law to govern the employment relationship for all DIFC and ADGM companies,” Sunil Ambalavelil, principal partner at Nasser Yousuf Alkhamis Lawyers (NYK Lawyers) and Legal Consultants, said.

What documents do I need to file a labour complaint?

“There is no specific requirement for any documents as the free zone authorities will have access to all employment records. However, you should keep a copy of the passport and employment contract handy for ease of registration of any labour dispute,” Ambalavelil said.

What is the process for filing a labour complaint for free zone workers?

Gloria Estolano, strategic partner at M and CO Legal, explained that the first step is to reach out to the free zone authority you are registered under and raise the issue.

“The free zone authority will contact the employer, and the authority will attempt to mediate and resolve the dispute. If the mediation is unsuccessful the authority will issue a document to the aggrieved party, which he or she will need to file an employment dispute with MOHRE,” she said.

She clarified that this document could be a non-objection certificate or a referral letter, which you can file as part of your labour complaint with MOHRE.

Estolano highlighted that MOHRE requires proof that you tried to solve the issue with your free zone authority first, which is why the referral letter is crucial.

How do I file a labour complaint through MOHRE?

• Online – MOHRE website –
• Call centre – Labour Claims And Advisory Center 80084

Filing your complaint online with MOHRE

1. To access the service, visit this link:
2. Then click on ‘start service’.
3. Next, type in your full name and mobile number. You will then receive a one-time password (OTP) on your phone, type in the OTP on the website to verify. Then, select whether you are an employee or a company.

4. After that, you will be transferred to the application form, where you will be required to fill out the following information:
• Name
• The name of the company or employer
• Employee mobile number
• Employer mobile number
• Free zone name
• Nationality
• Passport number
• Date of the referral letter issued by the Free zone
• Location of the free zone labour office

5. Next, upload your referral letter and Emirates ID copy into the application form.
6. Then, click on ‘Register Complaint’.
You will receive an SMS confirming the status of your application and MOHRE will follow up with you after reviewing the case.

This article was originally published in April 22, 2022 and has been updated since.