UAE: What to do if new employer delays visa processing

Once a residence visa is cancelled, an individual may reside in the country for a grace period of 30 days from the day of cancellation

Question: I resigned from a company in Dubai after I got a better offer from another. I resigned after accepting and signing the offer letter. The company that had made me the offer is now delaying processing my visa. They have not revoked the offer but said the formalities would take time. What do I do in such a situation? If my current visa is cancelled, how long can my family and I stay in the UAE? Is there any way to extend this? For example, get a tourist visa? Also, does the offer letter I signed have any legal value? Can I sue the new company if things don’t work out?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you received an employment offer letter from a company based in the mainland of UAE and therefore, the provisions of Ministerial Decree No. (764) of 2015 on the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation approved standard employment contracts (the ‘Ministerial Decree No. (764) of 2015’) are applicable.

It should be noted that in the UAE once a residence visa is cancelled, an individual may reside in the country for a grace period of 30 days from the day of cancellation. Prior to the expiry of the grace period, an individual should leave the UAE or change his status of stay within the country. You and your family may stay in the UAE up to 30 days after the residence visas are cancelled.

As per the provisions of Ministerial Decree No. (764) of 2015, it may be noted that an employer has to provide to an employee with an employment letter which is in consonance with the standard employment contract that is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and the same needs to be registered with the MOHRE. The employment letter must be signed by the employer and employee. Article 1 of the Ministerial Decree No. (764) of 2015 states “The employment contract specimen is henceforth adopted for use as a standard employment contract. Tentative approval to admit a foreign employee for the purpose of employment in the UAE cannot be granted until an employment offer that conforms with the standard employment contract is presented to and duly signed by the employee.”

Based on the aforementioned provision of law, if you and your prospective employer have signed an employment offer letter in the format provided by MOHRE and registered the same with MOHRE, and in the event, your prospective employer breaches the said offer letter and does not employ you, then you may file a complaint against your prospective employer with the MOHRE for breach of employment offer letter signed by you and the prospective employer.

However, if you and your prospective employer have signed and accepted the offer letter in the format which is not in accordance with MOHRE format and if the same is not registered with MOHRE, then you may be not in the position to file a complaint against your prospective employer with the MOHRE. However, based on the signed offer letter signed by both you and your prospective employer, you may consider the possibility of filing a civil claim against the prospective employer at a court of competent jurisdiction in the UAE. For further legal advice on this matter, you may consult a legal practitioner in the UAE.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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