UAE introduces measures to allow visit visa holders legal employment

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

As per existing regulations, it is prohibited for individuals holding visit visas to engage in employment within the UAE. Heavy fines and other penalties are imposed on companies found to be hiring individuals on visit visas.

Employers must obtain an employment visa and work permit for their employees before they can legally commence work. Dr. Ali Humaid bin Khatem, advocate-general and head of Naturalization and Residency Prosecution, emphasized the potential advantages of allowing visit visa holders to work legally in the UAE.

He proposed the establishment of work permits and other legal requirements to enable companies to hire visitors within the confines of the law. Dr. Khatem made these remarks during the Entrepreneurship Makers Forum organized by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai in Al Khawaneej.

However, Dr. Khatem also cautioned business owners against employing visitors due to the current legal restrictions. He reiterated that a visit or tourist visa does not grant individuals the right to work in the UAE. Violations of these regulations incur fines of up to Dh50,000 per individual for companies found to be employing individuals on visit visas. Dr. Khatem emphasized the importance of adhering to the law from the outset, stating that regulations are designed to safeguard both business owners and employees.

During a panel discussion at the forum, Dr. Ali Humaid also raised concerns about fraudulent emancipation practices. Emiratisation is deemed fraudulent when UAE nationals are employed in nominal positions with no real responsibilities solely to meet a company's Emiratisation quotas. This includes cases where Emiratis are rehired in the same company to bypass Emiratisation targets.

The 113 private enterprises that were sent to the Public Prosecution for breaking Emiratization requirements in November of the previous year were all part of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. Among them, 98 commercial enterprises were discovered to have put ordinary residents in fake positions related to emigration.

During the second edition of the Entrepreneurship Makers Forum, attendees discussed ways to overcome the major obstacles faced by young entrepreneurs. The GDRFA's director-general, Lieutenant-General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, emphasized that content makers should help foster entrepreneurial innovation and give young people agency. Furthermore, Imtiaz Service CEO Essam Lootah stressed the critical importance of laws and legal frameworks in supporting youth programs and encouraging sustainable growth.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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