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

Dubai: Whether you moved to the UAE for a job offer or are a school student who just landed their first job, everyone in the UAE workforce needs to ensure that they have a work permit in place, issued by the right authority. For the private sector in the UAE, if your company is on the mainland (and not a free zone), this authority would be the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

In two social media posts on their official channels, MOHRE informed users of the different types of work permits that it issues. These work permits offer flexible work options to those looking for a job, from freelance work to temporary work. It is important to note that these work permits need to be applied for by the establishment you are working with, except for the freelance permit, which can be applied for by the individual.

First category

MOHRE has divided work permits in two categories, as per the posts by the Ministry. The first category of work permits include:

1. Work permit under the residence of relative permit

This permit applies to people whose residence visa is sponsored by a family member. In this case, the establishment will simply need to apply for a work permit and not be the sponsor of the worker’s visa.

2. Juvenile work permit

This allows a person between the ages of 15 to 18 years to be employed at a registered establishment.

For teenagers looking to be employed at a private sector organisation, they would be required to provide a written consent from their parent or guardian. Also, as per the UAE Labour Law, certain other conditions need to be met if a company wishes to apply for a juvenile work permit. This includes a reduced number of working hours, compared to an adult employee (a maximum of six hours per day) and the fact that juveniles cannot be employed for hazardous or hard work. To read more about what the new UAE Labour Law – Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 – says about employing juveniles in the workforce, read our guide here.

3. Student training and employment permit

A UAE resident who is 15 years old and above can also be employed and trained at a registered establishment. According to the UAE’s official government portal – – this permit is specifically for students who want to enrol in the private sector for training purposes and this training permit lasts for three months.

The employment or training of a juvenile also requires written consent from their parent or guardian.

Second Category

As per the Ministry’s posts, the second category of work permits include the following:

4. Work permit (recruiting a worker from outside the State)

According to MOHRE’s online post, this work permit “... allows registered establishments to recruit a worker from outside the state”.

If you are coming to the UAE for employment, the company or organisation hiring you would need to apply for this specific work permit.

It is important to note that the company hiring you is responsible for completing all your hiring procedures, as per the UAE Labour Law. This includes applying for your residence visa, medical testing, obtaining the Emirates ID Card, Labour Card and stamping the UAE Residency Visa on your passport within 60 days of your arrival. All of these costs are paid for by the employer.

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.

5. Transfer work permits

This permit allows expatriates to transfer from one company to another. The company must be authorised by MOHRE.

6. Freelance permit

This is the work permit you can apply for as an individual, if you want to work independently. As per MOHRE, this permit is issued to individuals wishing to engage in self-employment without sponsorship from a specific employer in the UAE or a valid employment contract.

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7. Golden visa work permit

If you have a Golden Visa, you still need a work permit if you are employed by a UAE-based company. On July 1, 2021, MOHRE announced the start of issuing specific work permits for holders of Golden Visas.

MOHRE clarified that the said permit is given in three cases. The first case is individuals who were not working at the time of getting the Golden Visa, if they wish to work for an employer. The second case occurs when a current employer wishes to renew the work permit and contract for the holders of the Golden Visa after the expiry of the work permit. The third case is when a Golden Visa holder joins a new job with another employer. 

8. Temporary work permit

You also have the option of legally working with a new employer through a temporary work permit. It is a service provided by MOHRE to recruit a national or expatriate worker residing in the UAE to carry out certain work within a period not exceeding six months.

If you want to know how to apply for a temporary work permit, read our step-by-step guide here.

9. One-mission permit

According to MOHRE, a one-mission work permit is “... issued to a registered establishment wishing to recruit a worker from abroad to complete temporary work or a particular project for a specific time period”.

10. Part-time work permit

In this, an employee can work under a part-time labour contract. As of 2021, you can work for more than one employer without the approval of your original employer or any other, provided that the working hours are no less than 20 hours weekly.