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Wed 8 Dec 2010 11:20 AM

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UAE residence visas reduced to two years from January

New regulations also stipulate 15% Emiratisation for all private sector firms

UAE residence visas reduced to two years from January
VISA REDUCED: UAE residence visas and labour cards will be reduced from three years to two years for all private sector firms from Jan 2011 (Getty Images)

Labour card validity will be reduced from three years to two years for all UAE private sector workers from January next year, according to new regulations from the Ministry of Labour.

The move will have a knock-on effect on residence visas, which will also be reduced to two years.

State news agency WAM reported that the decision would lower the time that private sector employees are obliged to spend with one employer. 

The ministry also said that the new regulations would bring all private sector workers in line with drivers and domestic helpers, who only get two-year labour cards from the Department of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

"It [the decision] will have a positive impact on the labour market as it will create more flexibility in the employer-employee relationship, and will allow both parties to this relationship a shorter time," said Humaid bin Deemas, the assistant undersecretary for labour affairs at the Ministry of Labour, according to WAM. 

Earlier this month, Minister of Labour Saqr Gobash set out new rules for Emiratisation, which will again be effective from next month.

Among the changes is a requirement for private sector firms to have no less than 15 percent of Emiratis on their workforce.

Fines for companies failing to observe the Emiratisation policy are as much as AED20,000 ($5400).

Andrew Bannister 8 years ago

This all sounds very interesting but what about my status as a business owner on a investor visa ? I have invested into Dubai and whist I only have a small number of staff currently 4. I plan to spend the rest of my working days here building a small but highly motivated and positive company that can only be for the good of Dubai, a place I have come to love. I am not sure how the 15% rule could be applied if I only have 4 to 6 staff ?
But having to renew my investor visa on a more regular basis would a bit of a waste of my time, even though I do appreciate that giving employees the opportunity to change companies if they are not happy seems fine. Maybe there should be longer visas for people like me who have built companies here in Dubai, three year visas seemed a very short period, two years even worse... Andrew.

Kat 8 years ago

AED 20,000 fines - companies will just pay it - cheaper in the long run

AlexT 8 years ago

Can someone provide the actuall details i.e.: are the costs of visas would be 1/3 less or are stauing the same (nice litle earner).
At the time where the companies trying desperately to control their costs here come Johny! tax.
Can someone calculate 15% Emiratisation of three staff members.....

Smith, Dubai 8 years ago

is this another way for getting income each time you renew a visa and labor card?

suley 8 years ago

I read elsewhere that the ministry spokesman also claimed that this would save companies money! And people get fired or resign any time, so where is the "extra flexibility" in the relationship? sigh....

Expat 8 years ago

SO what about the fees charged? Is this being reduced proportionately? So what about people who renewed recently for 3 years. Assume they can wait the 3 years.

Sam 8 years ago

don't u think to bring everything in line is better to extend labour card to 3 years instead of reducing resident VISA to 2 years???

Tajir 8 years ago

So even the real investors / entrepreneur who have inovated , invested and created employment and GDP for UAE will now have a 2 year visa in line with the labour and the Maids.
Does this make sense I guess it will create a bigger crowd at the labour and immigration departments and keep people busy.

Billy 8 years ago

Just another hidden tax that has increased by 33%.

Sole 8 years ago

It is mentioned that obligation of the time spend by the employees with employers will be reduced, What about the fees ?