Visa Duration to be Reduced for UAE Expats

New visa regulations are set to be introduced in the United Arab Emirates in a bid to regulate the labor market, with expatriate visas and work card durations being reduced from three years to two years.

As part of ongoing plans to reduce the amount of foreign labor employed within the United Arab Emirates the Ministry of Labor will issue new rules next month that reduce the validity of labor cards of private sector employees by one year. In a press release statement issued by Humaid Bin Deemas, acting director general of the Ministry of Labor, the UAE Cabinet confirmed the plans: ‘The changes will achieve certain flexibility in the relationship between employers and employees. It would give both parties the ability to end the relationship without big losses for the employers and in a way that will not violate the labor laws.’

He also revealed that both work permits and residential visas would be reduced in duration: ‘As the labor card will be for only two years, naturally the residency visa will also be for two years,” he said.

Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Minhali, assistant undersecretary at the ministry’s Naturalization and Residency Affairs department, confirmed the information provided by the Ministry of Labor: ‘When we get an application for a residence visa we look at the validity of the labor card issued by the Ministry of Labor. If it is for two years then we will issue a two year residence visa,’ he explained.

The Ministry of Labor hopes that the reduced visa duration will save employers significant amounts of money, citing statistics that reveal that 70% of labor cards are cancelled prior to two years duration anyway.

If you’re considering moving to the UAE please see our relocation guide to living in Dubai. It contains everything you need to know about moving to this UAE city- from visa regulations, resident permits and ID cards, through to tax and banking requirements. We provide guidance on tackling the red tape and arm you with all the facts and information you need to make your international relocation stress free.