Dubai is a city that attracts many expatriates from all over the world to work and invest. The authorities have introduced several programmes to encourage foreign investors to invest in Dubai’s economy and obtain a residence visa. One such programme is the Golden Visa, which allows foreign investors to reside in Dubai for an extended period. In addition, Dubai is also known for offering advantageous employment contracts for foreigners who wish to work in the territory. In this article, we will take a closer look at Golden Visas and mainland employment contracts in Dubai.
Some people ask these questions: “I am a Golden Visa holder and I have just been hired by a mainland company in Dubai. What are my employer’s obligations regarding my employment contract and my identity/visa documents? What about my termination benefits?”
In our article, we have taken care to provide you with a full and detailed explanation on the subject matter, so that you can gain a complete and thorough understanding of the issue at hand.
Residence Visa: The Golden Visa for foreigners in Dubai
The Golden Visa is a long-term residency visa program that was introduced by the Dubai government in 2019. This visa is intended for foreign investors and highly skilled professionals seeking to reside in Dubai for an extended period of time. The programme is open to all foreigners who meet the eligibility criteria, including entrepreneurs, investors, high-level professionals and retirees.
The Golden Visa is issued for a period of 5 or 10 years, depending on the conditions of the visa. The programme is designed to encourage foreign investment and strengthen Dubai’s economy. Golden Visa beneficiaries can enjoy many benefits, including access to quality healthcare, education for their children, banking services, and ease of travel between Gulf countries.
Can I be employed in mainland as a Golden Visa holder in the UAE?
A company registered in Dubai Mainland can hire a Golden Visa holder. Golden Visa holders are allowed to work and reside in the UAE without the need for a local sponsor, which facilitates their employability in the country. However, the company must comply with UAE government laws and regulations regarding hiring, work visas and residence permits for foreign workers.
Labour laws in the UAE are governed by:
- Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (the “Employment Law”);
- Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (the “Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022”).
The company will need to apply for a Golden Visa holder permit from the Ministry (MoHRE). To obtain this permit, you will need to submit the required documents to your future employer, namely your passport, a passport photo, a copy of your Golden Visa and the MoHRE will apply for the permit.
The employer’s obligations towards the employee holding the Golden Visa are the same as for an employee holding a regular work permit. These obligations are listed in Article 13 and Article 16 of the Employment Act.
In addition, Golden Visa holders have different employment conditions:
- They can be exempted from applying for a work permit, “Subject to the provisions of clauses (4) and (6) of section (9) of the Employment Act, the Department may exempt certain employees from the granting of a work permit under the following rules: the employee is a Golden Visa holder.”
- They can receive a new work permit from another employer without risking a one-year ban on employment in case of termination without a valid contract. Indeed, in Article 28(2)(d) of the Cabinet Resolution of 1 of 2022, it is clearly stated, “Subject to the provisions of Article 50 of the Employment Act, If a foreign employee leaves work for an illegitimate reason before the end of the contract term, he or she shall not be issued another work permit for a period of one year from the date of absence from work, except for Golden Visa holders.”
The gratuity, also known as the end-of-service allowance, is calculated according to several factors such as the employee’s length of service and the basic salary.
For a Golden Visa holder working in a mainland company in Dubai, the calculation of the bonus is the same as for holders of a regular work permit. More information on the calculation of allowances here:
https://ares-accounting.com/indemnites-de-fin-de-service-dubai/ Selon the law, an employee who has completed one year or more of continuous service is entitled to a gratuity payment at the end of his/her employment contract. The bonus payment is calculated as follows (Article 51, paragraph 2, of the Employment Act):
- 21 days of basic salary for each year of service for the first five years of employment;
- 30 days’ basic salary for each year of service after the first five years of employment.
The basic salary used for the calculation of the bonus does not include accommodation, transport or any other benefits.
What you should know about visas
Golden Visa holders can only work for companies registered in Dubai mainland. Companies in the Free Zone are not allowed to employ Golden Visa holders.
In summary, Golden Visa holders who wish to work for a mainland company in Dubai must have a valid work contract with a company registered with the MoHRE. Work permits must be sponsored by the employer and regularly renewed. It is important to familiarise yourself with the specific requirements and procedures to avoid any potential complications.
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