Dubai: If you have been working in the UAE for a few years and been recently promoted from an entry level position to a more senior role, what can you do if your visa still shows the initial position that you were hired on?
In the UAE, expatriate workers not only have a work permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), but they also have a visa issued by the immigration authority in the Emirate they are living in, and the visa mentions the individual’s occupation. However, there may be instances, like the one mentioned above, where the job title mentioned on your visa is different from your current work profile.
How does a different job title on your visa affect you?
According to Haider Hussain, Partner at Fragomen, an international immigration firm, having a job title on your visa which is different from your current profile can cause issues when travelling around the GCC. Even if you travel internationally for a work trip, business visa applications may face hurdles due to the discrepancy.
“Business visa applications and travel to GCC and other countries may be scrutinised more than usual, as the job title given [on the visa] is lower,” Hussain said.
He added that at time individuals may also face issues when applying for a bank loan.
“A lower job title with a higher salary may result in the authorities questioning the role of the individual … hence scrutinising the application more than normal and requesting for additional information. Also credit may not be easily given from a practical standpoint due to the job title being lower,” he added.
A lower job title with a higher salary may result in the authorities questioning the role of the individual … hence scrutinising the application more than normal and requesting for additional information.
How can I change my job title?
While having this issue can be problematic, it is relatively easy to apply for an update to your visa’s details.
“The process of changing a job title depends on whether the employee works in a mainland company or the free zone. For a mainland company, the job title amendment requires that the employee’s records are amended with MOHRE, followed by the change of the visa sticker with the immigration authority. In the case of free zones, the process is simpler and involves change of visa sticker through the respective free zone authority,” Hussain said.
At times, however, you may need to meet certain requirements needed by MOHRE, according to Dipesh Rathod, Head of Account Management at Decisive Zone, a business set up consultancy.
“The job title on the UAE residence visa is based on the quota availability of the company sponsoring the employee visa. This can be amended if the employee has the relevant, attested degree certificate,” Rathod said.
However, the requirement for attested educational certificates is from MOHRE, Rathod clarified, and the update on the visa – which is managed by immigration authorities – can happen after the MOHRE records are amended. So, the onus is on the individual to provide the updated to their employer, who then would follow through.
The job title on the UAE residence visa is based on the quota availability of the company sponsoring the employee visa. This can be amended if the employee has the relevant, attested degree certificate
Rathod believes the visa designation does not truly affect travel or loans but would look at the actual employment contract, pay and benefits.
“From the immigration perspective, the [authorities] are checking only for a valid employee visa, irrespective of the designation on the visa,” he added.
However, it is always good to get your visa updated after checking with your company's human resource and personnel department.