From 1st December – ID card must for visas in Sharjah

Expatriates applying for or renewing their residence visas in Sharjah will have to first secure a national ID card.  The rule will take effect from December 1.
The Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) will link the visa medical tests at nine Preventive Medicine Centres (PMCs) in Sharjah with the registration of national ID cards, it was announced yesterday.
Emirates ID earlier announced that the deadline for expatriates in Sharjah to apply for national ID cards is on January 31, 2012. Those who fail to secure their ID cards will be levied a Dh20 fine per day, going up to a maximum of Dh1,000 from February 1, 2012 onwards.

Sharjah will be the sixth emirate to link the visa processing and ID card registration. Dubai is expected to complete the link up by early next year, a spokesman of Emirates ID told Gulf News yesterday. The Dubai link up will complete the visa-national ID integration project. Once completed, an estimated 22,000 people are expected to register for national ID cards per day, taking the number of registrations to half a million a month.

Nine ID card registration centres — Ghubaiba, Nasiriyah, Kalba, Sharjah Industrial Area, Khor Fakkan, Al Dhaid, Dibba Al Hosn, Hamriyah Free Zone and Free Zone in Sharjah International Airport — will be linked to Preventive Medicine Centres (PMCs) conducting visa medical tests.
Visa applicants must first apply for the ID card and present the Emirates ID receipt when going for their medical tests.
They have to first complete the Emirates ID pre-registration process — filling up the form, payment of the fee and booking an appointment for registration — at an accredited typing centre before going for the visa medical test. After completing the medical test, an applicant goes to the national ID card registration section where their fingerprints and photograph will be taken.
New procedure
Emartech , the company responsible for managing the electronic forms and printing offices has completed training their staff on the new procedure.
Most typing centres in Sharjah were also oriented on the new procedures.
Applicants need not to be present at the typing centre when filling up the e-application form. They have to however, show the original passport and e-application form at the ID card registration centres at the PMCs.
Those renewing their national ID cards will also have to bring their expired card.
Dates to remember
The deadline for Emiratis across the country to apply for or renew ID card expired on October 31. All expatriates were also given an October 31 deadline to renew their expired cards. Cardholders, except children under 15 years, are given 30 days to renew their cards from the date of expiry.
Deadline for expatriates in Sharjah to apply for ID card is January 31. May 31, 2012 is the deadline for the expatriates in Dubai to apply for ID cards. The deadline for expatriates in Ajman , Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah is on November 30, and March 31 in Abu Dhabi.
There will be a fine of Dh20 fine per day, gong up to a maximum of Dh 1000 (one thousand) after the deadline.
All children under 15 years of age, Emiratis and expatriates, are exempted from the fines until October 1, 2012.

From: Raj Narayanan

courtesy : News from Gulf News

FAQ – Visa, Residency & Sponsorship

 In which cases DNRD issues entry and residence permits to an expatriate?

To join his/her paterfamilias or guardian.
To study at one of the universities, Faculties or institutes.
To join a training or specialty course at one of the public agencies.
To a foreign widow or divorcee with one or more dependents from her ex-UAE citizen.
To a UAE citizen’s parents and dependents who hold foreign passports.
To a UAE female citizen’s husband and dependents who hold foreign passports.
To GCC citizens’ foreign wives on reciprocal treatment basis.
To family members of a foreign female who works in rare or important specialization such as medicine, engineering,

For more information on issuance of Visa, Residency & sponsorship refer DNRD’s Web portal

Can I come on a visit or tourist visa to Dubai, find work and start working immediately?

It is illegal to work on a visa other than a valid employment visa in Dubai. However, you may come on a visit or tourist visa and actively search for jobs in Dubai. Under recent legislation pertaining to employment visas, successful candidates who are hired by Dubai employers are required to exit the UAE pending release of their Employment Visas.

Clearly, any employer asking you to start work immediately or without a valid employment visa is not in compliance with legal requirements. If you choose to begin work without a valid employment visa, you:

  1. give up you chances of using the Labour Code or having the Labour Ministry to mediate your case in the event of a dispute with your employer;
  2. run the risk of being caught, fined and deported. You will also be blacklisted such that you may never return on an employment visa to the UAE. In many cases, illegal laborers spend jail time prior to deportation and their retina scans are kept active to effect the blacklisting.

Can I apply for an employment visa myself?

No, you can’t do that on your own. Employment and residency in Dubai work within a system of sponsorship. An employer is the appropriate party to apply for an employment and residency visa for employees. This means you have to have been hired prior to the application for your employment visa.

How does the UAE’s system of sponsorship work?

An employee’s designated sponsor for residency visa is their employer, whether the respective company is operating within or outside of Free Zones. Dubai or UAE residency is temporary and normally valid for three (3) years but may be renewed. The visa is stamped on the face of your passport.

UAE Laws require resident aliens (foreign nationals) to be primarily sponsored by a UAE national (citizen). UAE nationals may be direct private sponsors, as in the case of a UAE national hiring a domestic servant or, they may be indirect sponsors, as in the case of business employees. Businesses are able to sponsor their employees mainly because a UAE national is a partner, owner or a majority shareholder of the business-sponsor.

Besides being sponsored by my employer, how else can I get a UAE residency visa?

You have three options:

  1. Set up and register your own company in Dubai. Your business can then be your sponsor. Note however that you’ll be required to have a local partner, i.e., a UAE citizen.
  2. Set up a consultancy off of a free zone to become eligible for both residency and work permits
  3. Buy a property so that the property developer becomes your sponsor for residency. Note however that this does not entitle you to work in the UAE.

Can someone who is not a UAE national sponsor a resident?

Yes. This is possible through secondary sponsorship. Secondary sponsors are sponsored residents, usually employed males who would like to have their wife and children live with them in the UAE.

Can women be secondary sponsors as well?

Yes, women can sponsor their children if they’re divorced or widowed.

Can a married woman sponsor her husband and children?

Yes, she can, but only under certain circumstances and with prior approval by both the Depart of Labour and the Department of Immigration and Naturalisation. Wives sponsoring husbands are not customary. In most cases, approval is granted if the wife-sponsor has a profession of strategic and economic importance such as teachers or medical personnel.

What are the qualifying criteria for secondary sponsors?

Employed persons may sponsor only their immediate family, and must meet the minimum salary requirement for sponsorship. The consent and signature of the primary sponsor is required before an employee may sponsor their family.

Whose residency can I sponsor so that they can reside with me in the UAE?

  • Your spouse. This means either your lawfully-wedded husband or wife. This does not include a same-sex partner, even if such person is a lawfully-wedded partner.
  • Your children. These are male and female offspring under 21 years or unmarried daughters over 21 years.

What does being a secondary sponsor mean?

Secondary sponsors are responsible for their dependents whilst such dependents are residents of the UAE. This means you are responsible for their financial support, debts, if they incur any, and all aspects of life and living whilst they are under your sponsorship, including their conduct and behaviour.

Also, as their sponsor, you are responsible for the visa, processing fees and other related costs for obtaining the residency permit for your dependents. This is not your employer’s responsibility and they may not be obliged to assist you beyond giving their consent to your sponsorship. However, in some cases, employers may provide employees with visa-assistance benefits for employees to bring their families over.

Can I acquire permanent residency in the UAE?

No, you can’t. Residency in the UAE is only temporary. However, it is renewable.

Can I acquire UAE citizenship?

No, you can’t. An expatriate is not eligible for UAE citizenship. UAE citizens are defined by law to be only those persons born of parents who are both UAE citizens or born to a father who is a UAE citizen.

What happens to an expat’s child born in the UAE?

The child takes on the citizenship of the parents who must then apply for temporary residency status for their child under the secondary sponsorship system within three months of birth.

What right does temporary residency NOT include?

Temporary residency status is not concurrent with the right to work or seek employment in the UAE, nor does it guarantee employment. Sponsored children under 18 and freehold property owners over 60, whose residency is sponsored by the respective property development company, are not eligible for employment in the UAE. All other residents may go through the usual application process to be legally employed. Legal employment in the UAE is evidenced by the Labour Card.

I have a valid UAE residency visa. I’d like to spend some time in my home country. Will my visa still be valid when I return?

Assuming your UAE residency visa is not expiring within the next six (6) months, you can stay outside of the UAE for at most six months and return on the same visa. Staying outside of the UAE for more than six months at a time automatically invalidates your UAE residency.

What is a “ban”? How do I get banned?

A ban is a legal mechanism that prevents a resident or an employee from re-entering the country or from accepting a position with a new employer for a fixed period of time, usually for six (6) months.
A permanent residency ban may be imposed on serious labour offenders, such as illegal or absconded workers, illegal aliens or convicted felons. Fingerprint samples and retina scans of banned individuals are kept on file by the Federal Department of Immigration.

A labour ban is mandatory. You get banned when:

  • Your contract expires and no action pertaining to your employment has been taken by your current employer, or no new application by a different employer is filed for you.
  • You terminate an unlimited labour contract before completing one year of service.
  • You terminate a limited labour contract before its expiration.

How do I NOT get banned?

  • Your current employer must have taken appropriate action with the Department of Labour to extend your employment with them prior to the expiration of your labour contract;
  • Your sponsorship must have been transferred with a different employer. To effect this, certain conditions must be met, otherwise, your Labour Card will be cancelled and you will be banned.

How do I have my sponsorship transferred from one employer to the next?

Your limited labour contract must have already expired or you must have performed at least one year of service under an unlimited labour contract. As your current sponsor is required to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC), they must have no objections to the transfer or their conditions must have been met prior to the issuance of such certificate. In any case, this is usually discussed by your current and prospective employers. The NOC is required for the transfer of your Labour Card and both must be filed with the Department of Labour. In addition, you can only transfer sponsorships under the same labour category. This simply means your new employment must be for the same position, e.g. Accountant to Accountant, Manager to Manager.

What is the NOC? Can my current employer be legally ordered to provide this document?

A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is a formal letter by your current sponsor addressed to the Department of Labour and the Department of Naturalisation and Immigration to prevent you, the employee, from being banned after completion of your labour contract or in the process of transferring your sponsorship to a new employer. This is entirely discretionary and must be freely given by an employer. No employer may be forced to provide an employee with a NOC, under any circumstance, even after successful completion of a labour contract.

How to get a Work Permit (Labour Card) in Dubai

Anyone working in Dubai who is not a UAE citizen must have a work permit (labour card),  which is issued by the MOL ( Ministry of Labour). Labour Cards are administered by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (DNRD), also known as the Immigration Department. It should be obtained within two months (60 days) of arriving in the UAE. If it is not done in the said periode, the employer will be fined.

Before applying for the labour card the applicant must have a health check to confirm they are free from contagious diseases ( like STD, Hepatitis, PTB). This procedure has to be carried out in order to get a residency visa.

As with the residence visa, it is almost always the employer (sponsor) who deals with all the paper work for the labour card. They inform the employee for the documents required for processing the work permit. and the  the employer must pay a fee (AED 3000/-) as a bank guarantee for each employee.

To apply for a labour card, the candidate must satisfy the following criteria:

  • He should be less than 18 years of age and no older than 65 years
  • Have a profession or academic qualifications (for some category)  are needed in the country
  • Have a passport valid for no less than six months
  • Have a residency visa with entry stamp

In general, employers deal with the paperwork for both a labour card and residence visa.

The following documents are required:

  • Photograph of the employee (in white background)
  • Photocopy of company’s valid trade licence
  • Photocopy of company’s establishment card
  • Photocopy of passport plus entry visa
  • Valid health certificate (Medical Fitness Certificate)
  • Three copies of the employment contract*, with signatures of the employee and the employer
  • University certificates for professionals (for example, accountant, consultant, doctor, engineer, lawyer, manager, nurse).

A decision is usually made within One week time. The labour card is issued for two years, and is renewable if agreed by both parties (the employer and the employee). If this is the case, the labour card should be renewed within 50 days from its date of expiry.

Family members

People with a family residency visa who decide to work must apply for a labour card through their employer. They must include in their application a letter of no objection (NOC) from their sponsor, who is usually the husband or father, plus a copy of their passport.

Self-employed workers

If expatriates work in the Free Zone – one of nine areas which allows 100 per cent company ownership, no tax and no need for a local partner – they will either be sponsored for residency by an individual or by the free zone authority themselves. A labour card is issued immediately after residency is approved, meaning there is no need to go through the Ministry of Labour.

*Employment Contracts

Employment contracts are often drawn up between the employee and the employer before the former arrives in Dubai. It must  be drawn up in Arabic and English. There should be three copies signed by both parties: one for the employee, one for the employer and a third for the Ministry of Labour (MOL). If the contract is not submitted to the MOL, it is not legally binding.

Some employees might be sent an offer of a job – with all the details outlined – before starting. Once this is signed and an employee accepts the terms of the offer, this becomes a legally binding contract.

A contract should include:

  • Date and place of the signature of the contract
  • Type of contract (Limited or Unlimited)
  • Length of contract
  • Job description
  • Salary and any additional entitlements
  • Date that the employee will begin

what is the Limited or Unlimited Contract ?

A limited contract is for a defined number of years; however, a limited contract may not exceed four years. These types of contracts quite often have a three- or six-month probation period and some companies will only process residency when the probation period has finished. Limited contracts are not automatically renewable.

Unlimited, or indefinite contracts are renewable. The employment period for these types of contracts usually corresponds to the residence visa’s validity.

Employee should read the contract carefully before signed.

For more information on employment contracts Here is the PDF Document from Ministry of Labour

Labour card cancellation at Tas’heel only

The Ministries of Labour and Interior will jointly implement the electronic cancellation service for labour cards, with effect from Sunday.

The move comes in line with the first phase of the electronic link between the two ministries to boost the strategic partnership and achieve qualitative shift in exchange of data and information.

In accordance with this service, applicant firms seeking cancellation of work permits and labour cards will apply to the Tas’heel service centres set up for this purpose.

From Sunday the labour offices will not receive any application for the cancellation.

Humaid bin Dimas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry for the Labour Affairs, said the service comes within the framework of partnership with the Ministry of Interior to upgrade the federal services, save time and effort, and ease procedures in one transaction.

He called on firms to submit their applications directly to the 25 Tas’heel centres in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Al Ain City.

He added in Abu Dhabi the cancellation applications will be submitted to the printing offices partnering with Tas’heel system, indicating that the Ministry of Labour offices and branches will stop receiving the cancellation applications from Sunday

8,026 labour complaints filed in first half of 2011

The Abu Dhabi Labour Relation Office affiliated to Ministry of Labour received 8,026 labour complaints during the first half of this year, according to a report in ‘Al Khaleej’. Officers at Natwasal center successfully settled 3,838 complaints. Qasim Mohammed Jamil, Director of the Office of Labour Relations in Abu Dhabi said, the Office of Labor Relations receives all complaints through Natwasal.

Complaints that cannot be settled ay Natwasal will be handed over to the Labour investigation complaints Department, to be considered by the legal researchers. If they cannot resolve the issue then the cases are transferred to the Labour Court.

Man incurs hefty fines as labour card gets cancelled

An Arab expatriate has ended up as an illegal resident and has to pay hefty fines to the residency department after the Ministry of Labour cancelled his labour card without notifying him.
Nidal Al Taweel a 37-year-old-Jordanian, born and brought up in the UAE, has become an illegal resident after the ministry cancelled his labour card which led to the cancellation of his residency permit without notifying him.
The ministry refused to comment on the issue and said the case has been finalised by the ministry and Al Taweel has to contact the Department of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs for the cancellation of his residency.
Al Taweel told Gulf News that he filed a case against his sponsor towards the end of 2008 and after less than three months he was surprised to know that his visa had been cancelled without his knowledge.
Al Taweel said he used to work for Mega Vision in Dubai and he started having problems after a new management tookover. ”I went to complain at the Ministry of Labour for my unpaid salary and end-of-service [benefits] as I wanted to leave the job,” he said.
”At the Ministry of Labour, I did get the help I was expecting from the officials there. So I requested that my case be transferred to the Labour Court.
”Officials in charge of labour disputes warned me that if the Labour Court ruled against me, I will get a life ban on entering and residing in the UAE,” he claimed. He added that after many months of running between the Ministry of Labour and Labour Court, the company was ordered by the court to pay the employee Dh40,000 and a one-way ticket back home in case he was not working with another company.
Al Taweel said that his passport was held by the manager of the company.
”I went to Dubai Police and the Human Rights Section at the police to get my passport, but all of them said that this should be resolved between me and my sponsor and they cannot do anything for me,” he said. Al Taweel said that he was able to get his passport back only after the intervention of the Jordanian Consulate in Dubai.
Harrowing time
”When the sponsor handed over the passport to me, I realised my residency [permit] was cancelled,” he said.
”I never signed [saying] that I had received my end-of-service [benefits]. I have a court case against my sponsor and the court has ordered the sponsor to pay my end-of-service [benefits],” he said. ”I discovered that my visa had been cancelled less than three months after filing my complaint and during the hearing at the Ministry of Labour.”
He said the previous sponsor had closed down its operations in the UAE and left the country. After passing through a harrowing time with no income for two years, he said he has finally managed to get a new job.
”The new company applied for my visa, but the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in Dubai said I will have to pay Dh27,000 for being an illegal resident in order to be able to get a new visa.”
According to Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director General, Ministry of Labour, who earlier announced that the Ministry of Labour cannot cancel labour cards of workers inside the country in absentia.
The procedure is to summon the worker and his employer to make sure that the worker has been granted all his rights. Only then can cancellation take place.
If the worker is out of the country for more than six months, it will be cancelled automatically.

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