OFWs in the United Arab Emirates, take note. Whether you are a professional, skilled or domestic worker, you need to know the law that governs employment in the UAE. This would prevent you from getting banned and blacklisted in the country.
We know that you take your jobs seriously. We know you put your blood, sweat and tears to bring money for your families. And we want you to keep on doing that. We would like to inform you how to avoid getting yourself banned from the UAE. We hope that this will help you in getting gainful employment.
Avoid Getting Banned in the UAE – Get to Know the Employment Rules
You got hired by a company in the UAE. You signed a contract and moved to the country to work. You found the job exciting and challenging at first but now, you want to leave for another job. Your contract is not yet over. Will you be doing the right thing?
This is a situation that many people face. To go or not to go? To move to another job or face an employment ban? Are there ways to avoid the six months’ penalty?
Contract Types in UAE: Limited and Unlimited Contracts
There are generally two types of employment contracts enforced in the UAE. These are the limited and unlimited contracts. Once you sign the dotted line, there will be repercussions if you wish to terminate your obligation to your employer.
- Limited Contracts – Fixed term contracts usually for two years to three years. They may not have any notice provisions and expire at the end of the contract. You can renew the contract or change it to an unlimited contract at the end of the duration.
The employer can terminate it with corresponding penalties favoring the employee. If it is the employee who wishes to terminate the contract, there will be penalties which would favor the employer.
- Unlimited Contract – Open-ended contracts can be terminated by the employer based on performance related issues. It can also be ended by the employee after serving notice to the employer.
Switching Jobs and Avoiding the Labour Ban
So, you are facing the problem of switching jobs before the end of your contract. There are some ways to avoid the employment ban. Remember, however, that going AWOL is frowned upon. Defying the UAE Labor Code could possibly lead to a permanent ban.
If you have completed the term of your contract and wish to switch jobs, get your employers’ approval. This is done by obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the employer. This would mean there are no pending obligations with the company. It also means that the individual is free to look for work. But, there are some issues where the employers refuse to give their consent. This situation leaves the individual out of work for six months.
There are several stipulations in the UAE Labor Code. But if your potential employer offers you a position and a salary, your ban can be lifted. Take note that you must at least be a high school diploma holder to avail of this rule. There are minimum salary requirements that must be met by your potential employer to have your employment ban lifted.
- For high school diploma holders, AED 5,000
- For post-secondary school diploma holders, AED 7,000
- For Bachelors’ Degree holders, AED 12,000
Note that your educational qualification documents will be scanned by the authorities and entered into the system. You will receive a new work permit after your new employer pays the corresponding fees. The fees range from AED 600 and up per work permit.
Another way to escape the employment ban is to move to a government or semi-government job. If the government would need your services, employment bans will be lifted immediately. No questions about it.
Still another way to move past the employment ban is to get a job in a Free Zone Company. These free zone companies employ a different set of rules governing employment, taxation and finances. Speak to the HR Department of the free zone company to facilitate the visa application before submitting your resignation letter just to be on the safe side.
Talk to Your Employer if You Wish to Resign and Terminate Your Contract
If you have to switch jobs, ask your employer nicely. He might just consent and give you his blessing. Obtain a signed mutual agreement between employer and employee to cancel the contract (whether limited or unlimited). You will skirt the employment ban because there is a mutual decision from both parties to cancel the obligation. You would be free to seek gainful employment immediately.
Try to Complete Your Labour Contract before Transferring to Another Company
Switching jobs is not a crime, nor is it new. However, you have to live with the effects and consequences of your actions. Avoiding the employment ban in the UAE is possible but you have to meet the strict requirements of the Labor Code and Ministry of Labor.
If you can, try to avoid switching jobs before the end of your contract. A signed contract is an obligation to deliver what is contracted for the period of time stipulated. But if the work conditions worsen, then you have the right to ask for your release.
Job security is important. Your families depend on you to provide the necessities. Getting banned even for a short period of time could lead to financial problems at home. If you really have to change jobs, make sure you have an employer willing to take you in before handing in your 30-days’ notice.