No matter how enticing the offer might be, don’t ever agree to jobs offered on visit visa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Not only is this against the law, you could easily be subject to unfair labor practices and won’t be paid as much as the company promised – and you can’t even report the violation because it could actually get you jailed!
It is against the law for people on a visit visa in the UAE to seek employment, and companies are also prohibited from hiring such people. However, a quick search on keywords like “visit visa jobs Dubai” or “tourist visa jobs Dubai” would shouw you that the practice is actually quite common!
Photo credit: Dubai Week
Sara Khoja of Clyde & Co international law firm through Khaleej Times warns prospective workers from applying for these jobs because this could only lead to them being exploited by the company. What’s worse, they do not have ‘labor law entitlements’ and can’t go after the companies if not given the right pay or promised benefits.
Companies Easily Get Away
If it is against the law, why can companies get away with hiring workers on visit visa, anyway?
One thing is that they don’t usually leave a paper trail. Most of the workers are paid in cash. However, there are many companies that promise higher salaries for the workers but actually end up giving them less.
Then, they get the workers’ passports under the premise that they will process the work visa. But many don’t really do that because such would entail additional expenses for the company.
Photo credit: Paul Keller – Wikimedia Commons
If they don’t like the worker, they could easily fire him. If they do like the worker and want to retain him, they could still continue the unfair wages knowing the worker won’t likely complain about the matter to the labor office, anyway.
“I was new to the country and handed my passport over to my employer on the promise my visa would be changed to a residency visa. I was washing dishes in a restaurant. After three months of being told my visa would come, I started panicking. When my visit visa expired, my manager told me they did not have the quota to take me on, so I had to leave,” an Indian worker shared to Khaleej Times.
He exited the country to Oman, before returning 2 months later as a laborer.
“That was such hard work. I did that for two months. I was told I’d get paid Dh800 a month, but they paid me just Dh600 and again, kept telling me my visa would come but it never did. I left out of anger because I was duped two times,” he angrily shared.
Ashish Mehta & Associates founder and managing partner Atty. Ashish Mehta revealed that employers could get penalized if the worker files a complaint.
“However, similarly, an employee may also get into trouble for working illegally. A penalty or a ban may be imposed on the employer and the employee,” Mehta added.
Photo credit: Fanack
Thus, prospective workers are warned to never agree on jobs on a visit visa to the UAE. Instead, go through the legal channels to find the job. The process might be longer but there won’t be legal ramifications because you are not breaking the law.