Dubai, a bustling metropolis and a global business hub, has long attracted individuals from around the world seeking employment opportunities. Whether you're looking to advance your career, explore new horizons, or experience a rich cultural blend, Dubai offers a vibrant environment for professional growth. For those who aspire to work in this city, understanding the process of obtaining a work permit and work visa is crucial. Let’s go through the steps to secure one’s place in Dubai's workforce.
Understand the Basics
Before delving into the intricacies of the application process, it's essential to grasp the basic concepts of work permits and work visas. A work permit, also known as a labor card, is a document issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) that allows an individual to legally work in Dubai. A work visa, on the other hand, is a residency permit that accompanies the work permit and grants the holder the right to live in the UAE while employed.
Find a Job and Secure a Job Offer
One of the key things to understand about working in the UAE is that a work visa or work permit is provided by the employer. As an employee, one doesn’t apply for such visas or permits on their own. Hence, the first step towards obtaining a work permit and work visa is finding a job in Dubai. This usually involves networking, online job portals, recruitment agencies, and directly applying to companies. Once an individual receives a job offer, their potential employer will guide them through the subsequent steps of the application process.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) issues work permits in Dubai. The majority of work permits are issued under the sponsorship of an employer in Dubai. This means that one’s employer takes on the responsibility of applying for one's work permit, which is then converted into a valid residency visa. After arriving in Dubai, one must complete several important steps, like a medical examination, obtaining an Emirates ID, a labor card, and a residency visa, within 60 days of entering the country.
One’s employer will then submit their work permit application to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). This application will include their job offer letter, passport copies, and other required documents. The MOHRE will review their application and either approve or reject it.
If one's work permit application is approved, they will receive an entry permit. This permit allows them to enter the UAE and complete the remaining steps of the process. Once you arrive in Dubai, your employer will facilitate the process of getting your work visa stamped on your passport.
Validity of UAE Entry Permit
The permit is valid for 30 days and can be extended for another 30. This gives one 60 days to remain in the country, during which time one and their employer have to arrange to get an Emirates ID, a Residence Visa, and their Labor Card.
Remember that the sponsoring company is responsible for paying certain fees and providing a bank guarantee for each sponsored employee. If these fees and bank guarantees are not paid within 60 days, the permit will be automatically cancelled. In such cases, the employer must reapply for the work permit and start the process over again.
Getting an Emirates ID
With a valid passport and entry visa, one must apply for an Emirates ID. It's a government-issued identification card required for many activities in the UAE, including opening a bank account and signing a lease agreement.
Also read - UAE increases Emirates ID issuance fee
Workers seeking employment in Dubai are required to undergo medical tests to be qualified to apply for a visa. This is necessary both for new work visa applicants as well as renewals. This examination is conducted to ensure that one does not have any contagious diseases and is fit to work in the UAE. These medical fitness tests must be performed at government-approved health centres in the UAE in order for the UAE to grant or renew a residency visa.
Getting The Residency Visa
Once all of these requirements have been fulfilled, a resident permit will be stamped on one’s passport. This permit carries the sponsorship of the sponsoring business entity and allows the employee to legally reside and work in the UAE for a specified period of time.
Getting a Work Permit or The Labor Card
In addition to these steps, one must obtain their labor card number from MOHRE. The labor card is an important document that confirms the employee's legal status in the UAE and their ability to work for the sponsoring company.
Also read - UAE announces extension of work permit duration
Work permits and work visas typically have a specific duration, often linked to one’s employment contract. It's crucial to keep track of the expiration date and ensure timely renewal to maintain one’s legal status in Dubai.
Who Can Apply for a Work Visa in Dubai?
Three conditions determine whether or not expats need a Dubai working visa. An individual needs it if:
- One has been hired while they are still in their country.
- A job opportunity comes up when one is in Dubai on a visit visa or tourist visa.
- One is already working in Dubai and wants to switch companies.
In the first instance, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation have set up centres outside the country to facilitate this process.
In the second instance, one can obtain a Dubai work permit by exiting the UAE. They don’t necessarily have to fly back home. Road-tripping to Oman is a popular way of getting this 30-day visa renewed and is commonly referred to as “doing a border run”. It is perfectly legal to do so. Additionally, airlines such as Air Arabia and FlyDubai offer individuals a ‘visa run’ facility in which one can stopover in a neighbouring country (such as Oman) until they obtain a work permit in Dubai.
The hiring company can also avail of the ‘Change Status’ process by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDFRA) in Dubai. In this scenario, one does not have to leave the country to obtain a work permit in Dubai.
In the third instance, one also gets a new work permit to join a new company. As per Article 1 of Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015, an employee whose contract was terminated because of the expiration of the contract is eligible for a new work permit in Dubai, provided they are able to secure a new career opportunity.
One is eligible for a work visa in Dubai based on their education level. There are three categories based on one’s level of education. Here they are:
Category 1: This category includes individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree, including professionals such as doctors, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, public relations officers, and computer operators.
Category 2: This category includes individuals with a diploma in their field after finishing high school, and typically employed in mechanical or technical jobs.
Category 3: This category includes individuals with the equivalent of a high school education, including site supervisors, cashiers, storekeepers, and tourist guides.
Green Visa for Work
Another work visa besides the standard work visa is Green Visa. The UAE’s Green visa is a type of residence visa that allows its holder to sponsor himself/herself for 5 years, eliminating the need for a UAE national or employer to sponsor his/her visa. Freelancers, self-employed, and skilled employees can apply for a Green visa. To know more details, Visit – Green Visa UAE
The new system for residence visas and entry permits offers new types of residence permits for investors, skilled employees, self-employment and family members. The new types provide customized benefits to each category. pic.twitter.com/7JI8qjMsKm— UAEGOV (@UAEmediaoffice) April 18, 2022
UAE Employment Visa Rules
To be allowed to work in the UAE, an individual as well as the company hiring them must fulfill the following conditions:
- One must be at least 18 years old.
- The license of the company hiring one must be valid.
- The company must not have any violations.
- The work must correspond to the nature of the company hiring one.
Documents needed for UAE Employment Visa
When applying for an employment visa for the UAE, one needs several supporting documents, such as:
- One’s original passport along with a copy of one's passport.
- A passport-size picture, in line with UAE requirements.
- Copies of one's academic qualifications. One's qualifications have to be authorized by the UAE Embassy or consulate in their country as well as by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of their country.
- Medical certificate, issued by a government-approved health center in the UAE.
- Documents from the company hiring the individual, such as the commercial license of the company or the company card.
Securing a work permit and work visa in Dubai is a step-by-step process that requires coordination between the applicant and their potential employer. The process might seem complex, but with the right guidance and a proactive approach, one can navigate through the requirements and enjoy a fulfilling career in this global city. Remember to stay informed, complete all necessary paperwork accurately, and adhere to the rules and regulations outlined by the UAE authorities. Dubai's thriving economy and cosmopolitan environment await those who are willing to put in the effort to make their professional dreams a reality.