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

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