Monday, December 29, 2008

Work permit and residence visa cancellation Dubai UAE

Normally your employer will arrange cancellation of your residence visa and work permit when the time comes to leave the UAE, or when changing jobs. The procedure will usually involve closing bank accounts, returning credit cards, cancelling telephone subscriptions, electricity and water accounts, moving out of company provided accommodation, and anything else for which the employers sponsorship was required. If you are remaining in the UAE, you will have to negotiate some way of retaining bank accounts, telephone lines etc, with your employer.

It's worth considering carefully your departure procedure before you hand in your resignation notice, because once you do tell your company, certain events may be set in motion which can cause complications for you, especially if you have a less than harmonious relationship with your employer. These are some items to deal with:

  • Money in the bank - will you still have access?
  • Outstanding loans - do they need to be paid off and when?
  • Credit cards - will they be cancelled, and when do they have to be fully paid off?
  • Final salary and bonus / gratuity - how will it be paid and when?
  • Accommodation (if company provided) - when do you have to move out or can you stay if you want to, and how are the lease terms affected (rent may go up, there may be a transfer cost to change name)?
  • Telephone, internet, water, & electricity connections - if you want to retain them, how, or when are they cancelled?
  • Shipping goods to another country if you are leaving
  • School fees if paid by company
  • Residence or employment ban - will you be subject to either or both?
  • Changing jobs - will you transfer sponsorship, or will you leave country and return and make a new application?
Doing a runner - no we're not advocating this method, or telling you how to do this, just saying that you should consider the implications carefully if you choose this option - it's likely you'll be banned from re-entering the UAE forever, or for a long time at least. You'll of course lose any gratuity and final salary the company might owe you.

Telephone lines

Employers may not have a problem with you keeping your telephone line, but if they do, a possible alternative is to transfer the number to a friend who has a residence visa in the UAE, or visit Etisalat and leave a hefty deposit as a temporary solution while changing sponsorship (note that it is unknown if this method is an officially sanctioned option, or just luck of the draw depending on who you talk to at Etisalat). Note that prepaid subscriptions (Al Wasel with Etisalat) should not need to be cancelled anyway, and some people get a second line as a back up in case their main mobile phone account is cancelled.

Bank accounts

Bank accounts are a different story, it would be unusual for an employer to allow you to keep an account open once you're off their sponosrship. As soon as you inform your employer that you will be leaving, it is common for them to notify your bank of your departure, and it is possible that your account gets frozen. Therefore you may want to withdraw any cash before you let your employer know of your departure, unless you're fairly certain that access to your account won't be prevented.

You could also consider opening another account at another bank before you inform your employer of your departure. A company may only be interested in the bank account where your salary is deposited.

Accommodation

If you are in company provided accommodation, then you are supposed to be allowed to stay there for up to 30 days (not 1 month) after cancelling your work permit but check your contract carefully.

Visa cancellation grace period

Once your residence visa is cancelled, you also have up to 30 days (not 1 month) to exit the country, otherwise you will be considered an overstayer and will have to pay fines of 100 dhs per day plus an initial 100 dh charge.

Cancellation request denied

According to a report in the Khaleej Times 28 May 2008, the employer must not refuse a worker's request to cancel their visa, in response to a complaint from a secretary in Abu Dhabi that her employer would not cancel her visa. "The worker should abide by the law informing the employer before the notice month that he/she will resign. The sponsors have no right to detain the workers like this," said Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi, the Executive Director of the Inspection Section at the Ministry of Labour (MoL) in Abu Dhabi. If a company will not cancel a visa, the employee should file a complaint at the Disputes Department at the MoL.

Negotiation

As with many rules and procedures in Dubai, you may find a degree of flexibility in how company policies are applied - a good reason to stay on the right side of your PRO and other administrative staff at your company.