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UAE Labour Laws

The workforce of the UAE is governed by the The Federal Law No. (8) Of 1980, or the UAE Labour Law.

Terms of Service

The Ministry of Labour governs all companies not covered by the Free Zone Authority. It is the government entity that is responsible for the issuance of labour card and labour contract. It is responsible in mediating between companies and individuals during a labour dispute. The Free Zones also have labor dispute departments to mediate between employee and employer.

Visit the Ministry of Labour website.



Knowing Your Rights

It is important that you know your right as a foreign worker. A handbook is uploaded in this site for your reference (PDF here). It is important that you report any labour abuse or complaint to the labour attaché in your consulate or embassy. There are instances that you can report abuses to the police (999) such as incidents when you are being forced to participate in illegal activities.


Working in Free Zones

Free Zone Offices do not operate directly under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour. Any labour dispute is submitted to the Free Zone Authority and forwarded to the judicial court.


Visit Visa

Visit visas are issued to tourists which is good for a month and extended till two months. Visit Visa holders are not allowed to work though in practice many companies employ visit visa holders before the issuance of employment visa. Visit visa can be applied through travel agencies. Eligible expatriates (those with qualified salary and position) can apply for their immediate family members through UAE Immigration Office (DNRD).

Employment Visa
Employment visas are provided to expatriates who wish to work in the UAE provided they pass the requirements set by the Ministry of Labour; in the case of Freezone companies, the Free Zone Authority requirements.

Residence Visa
Residence visa is given after the employment visa is amended and after passing the medical exam. This is valid for 2 years both in Free Zone and Ministry of Labor (MOL) companies.

Husband’s or Father’s Visa
This visa is a dependant’s visa issued to the wife and children of an expatriate who are eligible (based on salary and position). Those with dependant’s visa can work provided a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the husband or father is given to the company. The companies, on the other hand, have to apply for a work permit to legalize the work status of those holding a Husband’s or Father’s visa without amending their residence visa.

For further information about visas, visit this website.

Limited & Unlimited Contract
Limited contract refers to a labour contract which states the starting date and a definite expiry date (usually a 2 year contract). The unlimited contract on the other hand, refers to a labour contract which states the starting date but has no expiry.


The passport is the personal property of the passport holder and the company doesn’t have the right to keep it. In practice, the passports are kept by the company as a guarantee to avoid absconding or runaway cases.

Embassies and Consulates

Emirates ID (EIDA)

Once employed, you have to apply for Emirates ID (National ID) which is required in all transactions in the UAE such as bank accounts, immigration applications, government applications, etc. Visit the EIDA website.



The GCC stands for the Gulf Cooperation Council, or in full The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. It is a political and economic union of the Arab states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Read more from Wikipedia about The GCC here.

Working and Living in the GCC Countries
Here are some links to help you with information regarding working and living in the GCC countries.


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