Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in the UAE, as established by immigration laws. Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the UAE market. If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.
A properly registered company can sponsor work permits for foreign nationals in the United Arab Emirates. Once the company has gone through the necessary steps to register and incorporate in UAE then it can apply to be a sponsor.
It is possible for companies registered in the Free Zones and mainland to sponsor, but a mainland company must have a local sponsor holding 51% of the company. This can be done though an agent, however that will cost approximately AED 50,000.
If the company is registered in a Free Zone it has a quota restriction on visas based on the size of their office space in the relevant Free Zone. Generally a company is allowed to sponsor 1 foreign staff member for each 12.5 square metres of office space that is leased. Given the premium that companies pay to rent office space in the Free Zones this is a significant consideration. Annual rents in the Free Zone are approx AED 1600-2600 per square metre which is roughly double mainland rental prices.
To register for sponsorship involves the following additional steps after the company is incorporated:
At this point the company will be entitled to sponsor employees, but will still need to follow the sponsorship steps outlined below per employee. Note that all forms are required in Arabic so it is recommended to use a local immigration specialist.
The steps required are as follows:
Shield GEO can process work permits in 2-4 weeks depending on the nationality of the employee.
Cost : USD 3,500 (approx AED 12,850)
The steps required are as follows:
|Category||Description of Visa|
|Employment Visa||This is the Emirati equivalent to a work permit. It can be obtained prior, or after entry to the UAE. All employment visas are issued by the Ministry of Labor. The employment permit must be acccompanied by a residence permit, however the employee has 60 days to obtain their residence permit after entering UAE.
There are restrictions on people over 65 and for certain nationalities.
|Business Visa / Multiple Entry Visit Visa||The applicant will need to show a relationship with a reputable local company or demonstrate they are a frequent visitor to the UAE. The Visa costs AED 1000 and is valid for 6 months. Each stay is maximum 30 days in duration. The multiple entry visa is allocated in country after the applicant has entered on a normal visit visa.|
|Residence Permit||A residence permit is issued in two forms, either with or without employment. Residence permits are valid for up to 3 years. They can be cancelled if the holder is absent for more than 6 months.|
|Entry Service Permit||This visa can be sponsored by a UAE company and will allow the holder to enter the United Arab Emirates for up to 14 days. This visa is non-renewable and designed for urgent activities carried our by workers such as sales managers, auditors, managers, etc.|
|Tourist Visa (Visa on Arrival)||If your country of nationality appears on the list below, no advance visa arrangements are required to visit the UAE as a tourist. Simply disembark your flight at Dubai International Airport and proceed to Immigration, where your passport will be stamped with a 30-day visit visa free of charge. This can be extended for an additional 30 days at an additional charge (approx AED 500 at last report).
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