Correct procedure for UAE company to release an employee after resignation

I work as a sales executive for a company in Abu Dhabi. This is my sixth month with the company, but I am not happy with the work or the pressure they put on me. A month ago I handed in my resignation and I want to return to my home country. Now the company is not ready to release me and is asking about the money spent on me for the visa application and all the other setup costs. Can you please guide me through the visa cancellation procedure? AR, Abu Dhabi

If an employee hands in their notice, the employer is obliged to accept it and must cancel the employment visa once the notice period has expired. They cannot refuse to accept a resignation. It is the employer’s responsibility to arrange for the cancellation of the work permit and residency visa, and if they refuse to do so the employee can file a complaint against them at the Ministry of Labour. It is important that a visa is properly cancelled before leaving the country to prevent any future problems. It is quite clear under UAE law (per Ministerial order 52 of 1989, Article 6) that a company is not permitted to reclaim the cost of employing someone from that person should they leave. AR should not be asked to repay any of the costs incurred by the employer. If they do not comply with the law, a complaint can be made with the Ministry. Finally, ordinarily a person would receive an employment ban of at least six months if they leave a company having worked for them for just six months, but as AR plans to leave the UAE this will not be an issue.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

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