Dubai: Are you an expatriate who has been working in the UAE for many years? If so, you might be interested in finding out how much longer you can continue to work in the UAE. Is there an age by which you may be required to retire? And if so, can you still stay on in the UAE with your family? Here is what the UAE’s Labour and Immigration laws state regarding the status of foreign retirees in the country.
Official retirement age for expats in the UAE
According to Dubai-based lawyer Ludmila Yamalova, who is the Founder and Managing Partner of HPL Yamalova and Plewka DMCC, the UAE’s labour law - Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 - does not explicitly state an age at which foreign workers in the UAE are required to retire.
She clarified that foreigners above the age of 60 have previously been allowed to work in the UAE and continue to be able to do so.
“Also, for those who run their own businesses, there has never been an age restriction for residency. Certain industries or companies may have their own internal policies regarding retirement, but these are not mandated by law,” she said.
She added that the previous Labour Law – through Ministerial Resolution 52 of 1989, Article 3, clause C – stated that the retirement age was 60. However, even with the previous law, exceptions were made for highly valued and skilled employees beyond this age limit.
From the employment standpoint, the recently introduced UAE Labour Law does not specify the age of retirement.
Does the UAE issue work permits for expats over 60?
Noora Al Doseri, a paralegal at Dubai-based law firm ADG Legal, explained that the current Labour Law does not have any conditions stipulating the maximum age for issuing work permits to foreign workers.
“In practice and in our experience, it is up to the discretion and approval of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to accept and grant work permits or visas for foreign nationals seeking to work past the age of 60. Some of the main factors taken into consideration are work-related qualifications and the extent of their expertise,” Al Doseri said.
In practice and in our experience, it is up to the discretion and approval of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to accept and grant work permits or visas for foreign nationals seeking to work past the age of 60. Some of the main factors taken into consideration are work-related qualifications and the extent of their expertise
Long-term residency options for retired expats in the UAE
While the UAE Labour Law does not state an age for retirement in the UAE, if you do wish to retire in the country, you would need to apply for a retirement residence permit, also referred to as the retirement visa. This is where the UAE’s Immigration Laws come into effect, and these laws do state a minimum age after which an individual can qualify for a retirement visa.
“From the immigration standpoint, the retirement age for foreigners in the UAE is either above the age of 55 or after the completion of at least 15 years of service. This is in accordance with Article 52 (1) of UAE Cabinet Decision No. 65 of 2022 on foreigners' entry and residency. Foreigners who meet one of these two criteria can apply for a Retirement Residence Permit,” Yamalova said.
How to apply for the retirement visa
To apply for the retirement residency permit, these are the conditions that need to be met:
1. The foreign national’s service period prior to their retirement shall not be less than 15 years (whether inside or outside of the UAE) or the foreign national is at least 55 years old; and
2. The foreign expatriate must fulfil one of the following criteria:
a) Must own a property (or multiple properties) in the UAE worth at least Dh1 million;
b) Have financial savings of at least Dh1 million (whether inside or outside of the UAE, provided it is deposited in any financial institution in the UAE); or
c) Must have an active monthly income of Dh20,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies.
The requirement for active monthly income may vary slightly depending on the Emirate that issues the visa. To know more, read our guide here.
Another residence permit that allows expats to live in the UAE without a sponsor for an extended period is the Golden Residence, which is a 10-year residency visa granted to investors, business professionals, talented artists, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanities and frontline workers.
The Golden Residence Visa is renewable every 10 years, and through this visa you can also sponsor your family for the same duration of time. However, to apply for this visa, you do have to meet certain eligibility requirements. Click here to know more about the Golden visa and how to apply for it.
Do you have any questions related to the topics covered in Living in UAE? Write to us at email@example.com.