Question: I am in Dubai on a visit visa. I have renewed my visa twice in the hope of finding a job. My daughter, who is 19 years old, is here on a visit visa, too. She is trying to find a part-time job to support herself. Is it legal for students on visit visas to work in the UAE?
Answer: Pursuant to your query, it may be noted that the provisions of Federal Law No. (6) of 1973 Concerning Immigration and Residence as amended by virtue of Law No. (7) of 1985; Law No. (13) of 1996; and Federal Decree – Law No. (17) of 2017 (the Immigration Law) are applicable. Further, the provisions of the Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 Regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the Employment Law) may be applicable as well.
At the outset, it should be noted that it is illegal to work in the UAE without a valid work permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) or any of the free zone authorities.
This is in accordance with Article 11 of the Immigration Law, which states: “The foreigner who obtains a visit visa may not work anywhere in the country with or without pay or for his own. If the visa is issued to work for an individual or an establishment, holder may not work for another individual or establishment without the written consent of that individual or establishment and the approval of the Directorate of Nationality and Immigration.”
Further, Article 13 of the Employment Law, states: “Employees who are not UAE nationals may be employed in the UAE only after approval of the MOHRE and the obtainment of a work permit in accordance with the procedures decided by MOHRE. Work permits may only be granted if the following conditions are fulfilled:
a. That the employee has the professional competence of educational qualifications that are needed by the State.
b. That the employee has lawfully entered the country and complies with the conditions stipulated by the residence regulations in force in the State.”
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, your daughter who is a student, may not work while she is residing in the UAE on a visit visa. To be employed in the UAE, your daughter must first obtain a work permit from the MOHRE or any relevant free zones in the UAE. Thereafter, a UAE residence visa is issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
In the event your daughter is employed while she is residing on a visit visa in the UAE, it may be termed as illegal. Her employer may be liable to penalties.
This is in accordance with Article 34 (1) of the Immigration Law, which states: “A fine of Dh50,000 shall be imposed on any person who has used foreigners who is not under his sponsorship without complying with the terms and conditions prescribed for the transfer of sponsorship or without obtaining the necessary permit.
“The penalty shall be imprisonment and a fine of Dh50,000 in case of return to the same act.
“The sponsor shall be punished with the same penalty stipulated in the two preceding paragraphs of this section if he does not employ the sponsored person or let him work for others without following the legal procedures prescribed for such act.”
Further, the court may not only deport an individual who is employed while residing on a visit visa in the UAE, but also the person who employs him/her.
This is in accordance with Article 34 (1) (6) of the Immigration Law, which states: “The court shall in all cases order to deport the violating foreigner, and shall also deport the foreigner who hired or accommodate the same when return to the same act.”
Therefore, it is advised that your daughter obtains a work permit and a UAE residence visa sponsored by her prospective employer in the UAE even if she intends to work on a part-time basis in the UAE.
On the other hand, as a parent, once you obtain a residence visa in the UAE, you may apply in order to receive a residence visa for your daughter under your sponsorship. Thereafter, you may grant a NOC to her prospective employer.
Your daughter may also opt for studying in any of the universities or educational institutions in the UAE and thereby may be eligible to apply for a student visa.
Thereafter, she may, on the NOC issued by her university or educational institution, be employed with an employer on a part-time basis.