Dubai: If you have been recently let go from a job or have decided to resign from a company, will your visa also be cancelled?
Here is all you need to know about cancellation of your work permit and how it may or may not affect your residence visa.
What is the difference between a work permit and an employment visa?
Firstly, it is important to distinguish between a work permit and an employment visa. According to Sunil Ambalavelil, a Dubai-based lawyer, while the work permit enables the individual to work for a company, a residence visa allows the individual to reside in the UAE.
“The main difference between an employment visa and a work permit is that different government authorities issue them. The visa is issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the specific Emirate in the UAE, while the work permit is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) for mainland companies and specific free zone authorities if it is a free zone company," Ambalavelil said.
The main difference between an employment visa and a work permit is that different government authorities issue them.
Work permit: As per Federal Decree-Law 33 of 2021 issued by MOHRE, a work permit allows a person to work for a licensed establishment. It is important to note that MOHRE only issues work permits to establishments incorporated in the UAE mainland. In contrast, the respective free zone authority issues the work permit for establishments operating in a free zone.
Employment visa: An employment visa is issued by the GDRFA under the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners. For an expatriate to work legally, they have to obtain an employment visa sponsored by a UAE national or legal person (company) in the UAE. The employment visa will be issued for two years for expatriates sponsored by a private sector entity within the UAE mainland and subject to MoHRE rules and regulations.
Will my visa get affected?
Ambalavelil explained how even though two different authorities issue the work permit and UAE visa, the process is still connected in situations where the employer is applying for the worker’s residence visa.
The individuals whose visa does not get affected by a work permit cancellation are those who are not on a company sponsored visa. This includes categories such as Golden Visa holders or individuals sponsored by their parents or spouse.
What happens if I am on my company’s visa?
According to Ibrahim Khaleel Arimala, managing partner and senior legal consultant at Musaab Ali Al-Naqbi Advocates and Legal Consultants, for people on an employer sponsored visa, there is a certain grace period between the cancellation of the work permit and the visa, as the two processes are separate.
"The visa does not get cancelled automatically upon termination and cancellation of the work permit. There is a grace period of one month available for the employee,” Arimala said.
The visa does not get cancelled automatically upon termination and cancellation of the work permit. There is a grace period of one month available for the employee.
During this one month grace period, you then have the opportunity to regularise your residency status and apply for another visa if you wish to stay in the country. If a new company hires you, for example, your employer can apply for a new UAE residence visa for you. You can also apply for a family visa, if that option is available to you.
However, according to the legal experts that spoke to Gulf News, if you are unable to do so, you should exit the UAE before the grace period ends, as staying after your visa has expired can lead to heavy overstay fines.