How to change jobs in UAE & Dubai

change job in dubai

How to change jobs in UAE & Dubai has always been known for its high standards of living and luxurious lifestyle. The city offers a wide range of jobs and career opportunities for both local and expatriates. If you want to move abroad, then Dubai is definitely the place to be.

However, moving to another country requires a lot of preparation. There are certain things that you should consider before leaving home. This article provides some useful information about changing jobs in Dubai.

How easy is it to change jobs under the new UAE labour law?

A version of this article was first published in November 2021 UAE labour law regulating the private sector provides greater protection for employees and introduces more flexibility into the workplace.

Described as one of the largest updates to the laws regulating labour relations, it will come into force on February 2, 2022.

Many of the new regulations make it easier for people to change jobs, while providing protection for employers in the private sector, who might have spent thousands of dirhams on recruiting staff from abroad.

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Probation periods

The new law states that probation periods may not be longer than six months, and employers are required to give a minimum of 14 days notice in writing if they wish someone to leave their employment before the date specified for ending their service.

Get an NOC from your employer

After the completion of a limited contract of two years, both the employer and the employee have to agree on termination and non-renewal of the contract. After both the parties have agreed, you can secure a no-objection certificate from your current employer and submit it to your prospective employer. Also, remember that in case of conflict with your current employer, your future employer may not be able to help you in the removal of your ban, if imposed.

Quitting within the contract period

If you quit before the completion of your contract period of two years, you will be liable to compensate your employer with an amount not exceeding your 45 days’ remuneration.If the employer proceeds with an action against you, an employment ban may be imposed. It can be avoided if the employer and the employee have mutually agreed to the termination of the contract.

Importantly, it should also be noted that an employee terminating his employment before the completion of two years may not be imposed an employment ban if he has been offered a salary in accordance with his professional qualifications by the prospective employer. In this regard, it should be noted that certain professionals (ex. engineers) are exempted from an imposition of a labour ban to change employment from one employer to the other.

Working on an unlimited contract

In cases where the employee is working with a company on an unlimited contract, a one month notice period is enough before switching your job. The employer can also terminate the services of its employee with a 30-day notice period. If either of the parties cannot complete the notice period, then the one responsible for reducing the notice period must compensate the other party.

Rights on changing jobs in UAE

A recent letter by a 7DAYS reader about changing jobs sparked a lot of debate. The reader was worried that their current employer would cause trouble for them if they tried to leave and the person wanted to know what their rights were.

Can I change jobs at any time?

You may change jobs at any time, however a departing employee must provide appropriate notice provisions to their employer. The legal notice period is 30 days. If an employee departs from his employment without providing the appropriate notice then that employee shall not receive their gratuity. There are, of course, situations wherein an employee may leave without notice, which are limited to circumstances where an employer has breached his duties to an employee or assaulted an employee. In practice, such violations are difficult to prove and therefore we recommend that 30 days’ notice always be provided.

Can my boss refuse to let me go?

No, your boss cannot refuse to let you go. However, there are consequences for not properly leaving employment. For example, if proper notice is not provided, then this will impact your gratuity.

When should my gratuity be paid?

The gratuity is payable at the end of the notice period. For example, if an employee gives his employer notice of 30 days resignation, he will receive his gratuity at the end of the 30-day notice period.

Can my old employer withhold all or part of my gratuity?

Your employer may not deduct amounts owing to you pursuant to your gratuity, however, the employer is entitled to deduct from your gratuity, anything which you as an employee are owing to the company. Your employment contract would outline what you and the employer have agreed to when it comes to items that the employee is responsible for. For example, the cost of phone bills, or some other benefits, may be the financial responsibility of the employee. The contract will have to be reviewed in these cases.

What will happen to my visa?

An employer must cancel or transfer sponsorship of an employee’s residence visa and labour card (or ID card if the employee is working in the free zones) within 30 days following termination of employment. In addition, employees must sign a final settlement form stating that they have received all of their legal entitlements, including gratuity and notice period pay, before the authorities will cancel their residence visa and labour card (or ID card, if applicable). This helps to protect employees in ensuring they have received the appropriate financial settlement.

Will I have to leave the country before starting the new post?

In most cases, you will be required to leave the country. However, there are processes available where a terminated employee may obtain a new visa without having to leave the country. The latter route is often more costly however.

I’ve heard companies can get you ‘banned’ from the UAE for leaving, is this true?

Yes, a company may ban an employee depending on the timing of your departure from the company and whether you have provided a proper reason for leaving. For example, in a limited contract, if an employee departs before its expiry and without reason, then the employer may issue a ban which effectively prevents the employee from obtaining a visa under new employment, for a period of one year. In an unlimited contract, an employee would face a six-month labour ban. There are limited exemptions in place such as within free zones where the rules vary slightly, however the reality is that bans do exist.

Can I challenge the ban?

If you wish for the ban to be lifted, a certain sum of money may be paid to lift the ban. Sometimes if you have been hired by a new employer, the new employer will agree to pay to have the ban lifted such that you may commence work at the new employment.

What should I do if I feel my old employer is just trying to make trouble for me?

In this case, we recommend that you attend the Ministry of Labour to file a complaint. If you work for a free zone company, you may file a complaint through the free zone authority. Some free zone authorities have implemented a mediation process whereby both parties attend a mediation session in an effort to resolve outstanding disputes. This is a helpful avenue to resolve disputes and can often lead to a settlement outside of court, providing employees with an affordable solution to their disputes.

Please contact one of our experienced lawyers today for more details. Email us at [email protected] or call +971 4 448 4284.

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