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If I manage my friends or relatives business while I am on a tourist visa, will I be fined Dh50,000?

15 Sep 2023

Question: Is it possible for me to start working in Dubai while I am on a visit visa after receiving a job offer from a friend to manage his business or do I need to obtain an employment visa first?

Answer: This is one of the most common question from people visiting to the country to meet their friends and relatives. Responding to it, the UAE government has clearly stated that obtaining an employment visa is necessary before engaging in any work-related activities in the country which further ensures legal compliance and the protection of both the employee and the employer.

The UAE visit visa is granted for a limited period of time merely serving the purpose of tourism, leisure, or family visits and is not intended for long-term employment. Although it allows individuals to enter the UAE, it does not grant legal rights to engage in professional activities such as managing a business or holding a paid position. On the other hand, the employment visa is specifically designed for individuals seeking employment opportunities within the UAE. It provides job seekers with the necessary legal framework and protections while allowing them to reside and work in the country for a defined period.

So, on the Regulation of Employment Relations as per the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021, Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 concerning the Regulation of Employment Relations and Federal Decree Law No. 29 of 2021 with regards to Entry and Residence of Foreigners are applicable.

In the UAE, according to Article 6(1) of the Employment Law and Article 5(4) of the Immigration Law, an employee may not be employed by an employer without a valid work permit.

Mentioned below are some of the employment laws which need to be strictly followed by everyone:

Article 6(1) of the Employment Law: “No employee may be hired or employed by any employer, and no work may be undertaken in the UAE without receiving a work permit from the Ministry, as per the terms of the Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations.”

Article 5(4) of the Immigration Law: “An alien is not permitted to involve in any kind of work or activity except in accordance with the legislation being in effective operation in the State.”

In the UAE any employer who hires an employee without a valid work visa will have to face deportation from the country and will also have to pay hefty penalties. This is with regards to both, Article 60 (1) of the Employment Law and Article 25 (1) & (7) of the Immigration Law.

Below, you can find the provisions stated in the aforementioned laws:

Article 60(1) of the Employment Law imposes a huge amount of fine ranging anywhere between Dh50,000 to Dh200,000 on individuals who employ workers without the necessary work permit.

According to Article 25 (1) & (7) of the Immigration Law, anyone who employs, harbors, or aids an alien in violating the provisions of the law will be subject to a fine of Dh50,000. In cases of repeat offenses, the penalty includes imprisonment and an additional fine of Dh50,000. In addition to the above mentioned penalties, the court is authorized to order the deportation of both the violating alien and the individual who employed or harbored them.

As per the regulations set by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE), both, employers and employees have the flexibility to reach a mutual agreement for obtaining a work permit. These permits are categorized into several visa types such as part-time work permit, temporary work permit and freelance work permit, as outlined in Article 6 of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022.

While you are on a visit visa in UAE, it is not advisable to engage in work at your friend's or relatives business. Instead, you have the option to request your friend to sponsor a work permit and UAE residency visa through his entity. This will allow you to effectively manage the operations of his business in the UAE.