GCC Laws


Q. What Penalties Apply for Violations of the Law?

According to Article 181, violators of imperative provisions of this Law or its executive regulations or orders can face penalties of imprisonment for up to six months and/or a fine ranging from three thousand Dirhams to ten thousand Dirhams.

Q. Why are These Penalties Imposed?

These penalties deter violations, promote adherence to labor laws, and ensure fair and lawful treatment of workers.

Q. What is the Policy on Enforcement of Fine Rulings?

According to Article 182, the policy is that fine rulings by the ministry are considered administrative orders that must be implemented. Employers are obligated to pay any fines levied against them promptly. Non-payment can lead to further legal action.

Q. Why is This Policy in Place?

This policy ensures fines actually serve their intended purpose as an enforcement mechanism for UAE labor law. If employers could simply ignore fine orders, it would undermine the ministry's ability to promote compliance and accountability for violations.

Q. Why Can Penalties be Doubled in Certain Cases?

According to Article 27, fines can be doubled if the same violation is repeated within 3 years. This provision enables stricter punishment for employers that habitually break the law, acting as a deterrent against recurrent offenses.

Q. Why is Doubling Penalties Possible?

Doubling repeat violation fines demonstrate the greater severity associated with continued, willful disregard for UAE labor statutes. It puts employers on notice that the ministry will elevate consequences for those who fail to change non-compliant practices.

Q. Who is Held Responsible for Offences?

As per Article 26, the owner or manager of a business is held legally and financially responsible for labor law violations by their establishment. This matches liability with decision-making power over company policies and practices.

Q. Why is This Allocation of Responsibility Important?

Placing responsibility on owners/managers aligns authority over employment conditions with accountability for those conditions. It incentivizes proactive compliance efforts from those at the top who dictate company culture and protocols impacting workers.

Q. What Happens if an Employer Fails to Fulfill Obligations?

Under Article 29, the ministry may take direct action to resolve violations if an employer refuses to do so within a specified period. This could include executing required procedures on the business’ behalf at the employer’s full expense.

Q. Why is This Enforcement Method Used?

This approach prevents delays in remediating urgent issues like unsafe conditions due to employer negligence or obstinance. It signals the ministry will step in as needed to fulfill legal obligations not met by the company itself.

Q. Why is Penalties Initiation Delayed in Some Cases?

As stated in Article 28, the ministry may postpone fines for up to one month to allow well-intentioned employers to proactively self-correct violations without penalty. This signals a willingness to show grace but not indefinitely tolerate violations.

Q. Why is This Approach Adopted?

The delay aims to incentivize voluntary remediation in cooperative employers while reserving harsher fines for resistant or exploitative businesses requiring greater pressure through penalties.

Q. What are the legal consequences of employing a worker in the UAE without a valid work permit?

Employing someone without a work permit violates immigration and labor laws. Consequences can include fines up to 50,000 DHS, possible jail time, deportation of the worker, and a 1-year suspension on new work permit applications. Harsh penalties deter unlawful hiring practices like visa trading that exploit workers.

In addition to fines and potential jail time, other risks are involved with the illegal employment of expat workers. The employer would be fully liable for any workplace injuries or disputes over pay and could also face penalties related to visa irregularities and absconding workers. Ultimately, adhering to visa and labor regulations in the UAE protects both worker rights and avoids the harsh penalties employers may incur.

Q. What are the fines for not adhering to occupational health and safety standards?

Article 18 states that the fine is 10,000 Dirhams per case for not following occupational health and safety standards or procedures to mitigate threats. More specifically, employers are required under UAE labor law to provide safe working conditions that minimize the risk of injury or illness. Violations of these standards can result in fines of up to 10,000 DHS each time there is an infraction.

Q. What is the fine for holding a worker responsible for recruitment fees?

According to Article 9, fines of up to 100,000 Dirhams may be imposed if an employer charges recruitment fees to job candidates or employees. UAE law prohibits businesses from burdening workers with costs associated with processing employment applications, securing work visas, travel, medical exams, and related hiring requirements. Despite the ban, some companies still illegally transfer these costs to employees; hence, the steep fines aim to halt this practice leading to involuntary labor. In addition to fines being issued, repeat offenders may face criminal charges and temporary suspension of hiring rights as further deterrents.

Q. What are the penalties for employers not granting annual or sick leave?

Article 21 states that fines of up to 100,000 DHS can be imposed if companies deny employees their legally entitled annual or sick leave. UAE law guarantees both annual and sick leave to all private sector staff. Employers must offer this leave and ensure workers can utilize it without retaliation or consequences.In addition to fines, the ministry may mandate changes to company leave policies and closely monitor an employer's leave-granting practices going forward. This protects a fundamental worker's right to paid holidays and recuperation time as needed.

Related Questions

Can I employ a family member or friend without a work permit in the UAE?

You cannot legally employ a family member or friend in the UAE without a valid work permit.

The UAE has strict regulations regarding foreign workers and employment. All foreign nationals who wish to work in the UAE must have a valid work permit or employment visa sponsored by an employer. Family members and friends cannot be employed if they do not have the proper documentation allowing them to legally work. Employing someone without a work permit violates UAE labor laws and could result in fines or other penalties.

Some key things to note:

  • Employers have sponsorship obligations and must ensure all employees are properly documented
  • There are fines and potential jail time associated with hiring workers illegally
  • Exceptions may be made for hiring domestic labor, but rules still apply

So, while it may be tempting to hire a family member or friend informally, doing so without following proper visa and permit procedures would be considered illegal employment in the eyes of the UAE government. The lawful process must be followed to keep all parties in compliance.

Source: UAE Government

What should I do if I have unknowingly employed someone without a work permit in the UAE?

If you discover you have inadvertently and illegally hired an expatriate worker without a valid UAE work permit, you should take immediate steps to rectify the violation. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), you are advised to inform the ministry at once and submit a request to obtain the required work permit and visa for the employee. Though penalties still apply for the initial offense, demonstrating that it was done unintentionally and voluntarily reporting it can help mitigate harsher consequences.

As per a Gulf News article, you may face a fine of up to 50,000 AED, but informing authorities right away exhibits good faith. You will need to work quickly to properly sponsor your worker's residence and employment in the country to avoid further issues. While awaiting approval, you must also commit to paying them wages on par with legal standards. Resolving the work permit violation promptly and ensuring the expatriate's rights are protected can limit the legal troubles you may face.


How can I check if a worker has a valid work permit in the UAE?

As an employer in the UAE, you have a responsibility to verify all expatriate employees have valid work permits and employment visas. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), sponsors can utilize the Tas'heel Service to check the status of a worker's visa and permit in real-time. Tas'heel allows access to verified information on a worker's legal documentation and residency status directly from immigration systems and databases.

The quickest way to check is to obtain a copy of the employee's current work permit issued by MOHRE along with their Emirates ID. Cross-check the personal details and permit/ID numbers via the Tas'heel services to validate authenticity. You can perform checks through the Tas'heel website portal or integrated smartphone apps. Staying compliant with labor regulations protects both employer and employee - verifying permits via MOHRE systems can help avoid violations.


What are the responsibilities of employers under the new Labor Law regarding work permits?

The UAE’s new labor law - Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 - has reinforced several key obligations for employers when it comes to securing valid work permits. As stipulated under the law, sponsors must bear all the fees and costs associated with recruitment and obtaining residency permits, visas, medical exams, Emirates IDs, and employee work permits.

Employers also remain solely accountable for any violations related to work permits and employment visas under the Kafala sponsorship system. Consequences for infractions can include fines, jail time, employee wage liabilities, and bans on new permits. Therefore, the new labor law upholds that employers must fulfill due diligence to guarantee workers have approved permits, ensure permits remain valid through renewals, cover all associated costs, and adhere to relevant processes with MOHRE to avoid penalties.


What are the consequences for a worker who works in the UAE without a valid work permit?

Expatriate workers who engage in employment in the UAE without a valid work permit and residency visa face serious penalties under the country's laws. Consequences can include incarceration and deportation, in addition to monetary fines. Workers may be jailed, fined up to 50,000 AED, and then deported back to their home country.

Additionally, as per Gulf News, employees without permits have very limited legal protections and recourse in disputes with employers over unpaid wages, workplace injuries, or poor conditions. They also risk being reported as 'absconding' by employers, leading to immigration penalties and employment bans of up to one year. Ultimately, working without legal documentation strips employees of their rights and leaves them vulnerable to detention, plus a ban on returning to the UAE for at least two years.


Can a worker be deported for working without a valid work permit in the UAE?

Yes, a worker can be deported for working without a valid work permit in the UAE. The UAE has strict laws regarding working without proper documentation. As per the labor law, all workers must possess a valid work permit before starting employment in the country. Those found working illegally face severe consequences, including hefty fines, imprisonment, and, most certainly, deportation.

To safeguard the job market, the authorities enforce a zero-tolerance policy towards unauthorized workers. They carry out regular inspections and set up a hotline for people to report illegal workers. Once caught, the worker is detained and deported back to their home country after paying any applicable fines. They may also get an entry ban prohibiting their return for a certain period. The process can be lengthy and financially draining.


What are the rights of a worker who is employed without a valid work permit in the UAE?

Workers employed without a valid work permit have extremely limited rights and legal protections in the UAE. As per Article 6 of the UAE Employment Law, their employment contract is considered null and void. So, they cannot make any claims against the employer for compensation, benefits, notice period, etc., in case of termination or workplace injury. 

They are also not protected under the UAE Labor Law, which safeguards employee rights. Hence, they can be dismissed at any time without prior notice or justification. They will lack access to standard benefits like paid annual leave, sick leave, health insurance, end-of-service gratuity, etc. Overall, their situation is very precarious financially, and they remain vulnerable to exploitation.


Can a worker claim back wages and benefits if they were employed without a valid work permit?

As per Article 6 of Federal Decree-Law No. 33, working in the UAE without a valid work permit is illegal. Hence, workers employed illegally have no rights or legal protections. Their contract is considered null and void as per UAE Employment Law. So, they cannot make claims against the employer for unpaid wages, benefits, compensation, etc., in labor courts or other channels. Even if promises were made by the employer, without a legally valid contract, they have no standing to make legal demands.

Since those working without permits are not covered under UAE labor law, they lack any pathways to claim back wages or benefits. They risk being deported without payments if discovered working illegally. Hence, workers should ensure they hold a valid work permit before starting employment to access legal channels for rights and disputes.


How can I report an employer hiring illegal workers in the UAE?

If you know of or suspect an employer of hiring illegal workers, you can report them to the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE).

Call their toll-free number, +971-600590000, to register a complaint and provide relevant details about the company, workers without permits, location, etc. You can also use the Virtual Labor Market system's smartphone application or website to report such labor law violations anonymously. The authorities maintain the confidentiality of sources in all cases.

To curb illegal employment in the UAE, the public should proactively report violations by employers who engage workers without valid work permits. MOHRE provides accessible channels for the community to raise complaints against companies exploiting illegal labor, enabling a crackdown on the menace based on credible information.


What are the channels for filing a complaint against an employer violating work permit regulations?

Workers can file official complaints regarding work permit violations by employers at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). Complaints must be submitted in writing, providing details of the grievance, employer's information, location, nature of violation, etc. In Abu Dhabi, complaints must be registered with the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department. If no settlement is reached within two weeks, MOHRE refers the dispute to the labor court.

MOHRE and the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department are the designated channels for workers to raise complaints against employers violating work permit regulations. They provide standard procedures for submitting grievances in writing, conducting investigations, attempting reconciliation, and referring unresolved cases to court - ensuring effective resolution as per UAE labor law.


What are the procedures for resolving disputes related to work permits in the UAE?

As per the Federal Decree-Law No. 33, MOHRE first tries mediation to resolve work permit disputes amicably within two weeks. If talks fail, the case goes to the labor court, which must schedule a hearing within three days for expedited claims processing. For salary disputes below AED 500,000, the case can be referred to Summary Chambers. Arbitration is also an option if both parties agree.

The tiered dispute resolution mechanisms from mediation to court hearings ensure swift settlement as per UAE labor law. MOHRE can also obligate employers to pay workers' wages for up to 2 months during disputes. So, standardized procedures safeguard rights while claims are being investigated and resolved.


How can I ensure compliance with work permit regulations in the UAE?

To ensure compliance, employers must diligently follow all procedures for applying, renewing, and canceling work permits per Article 3 of the UAE Employment Law. As per Federal Decree-Law no. 33, they should only engage licensed agents for recruitment. Before hiring, they must verify workers' permits on MOHRE systems and keep copies. They should assist workers in permit renewals and report any violations or exploitation.

Additionally, employers should prominently display labor law provisions, have worker contracts citing rights and duties, conduct audits to catch irregularities, and act on complaints. Taking proactive measures will ensure they abide by all work permit regulations. If in doubt, checking with MOHRE will help avoid inadvertent violations.


Exploring Emirati Talent for Your Team?
Hire Emirati Talent Now!