Is it illegal for wife to work in Dubai on husband's Abu Dhabi visa?

I have just started a new job in an office located in Dubai International Financial Centre, and a month after joining I was told by my general manager that I have to change my visa to the company’s visa. I am currently on the visa of my husband, and it is issued in Abu Dhabi. My employer states that it’s illegal for me to work on my husband’s visa because it’s issued in Abu Dhabi, but if this is the case how did I manage to work for my previous company? Is this true? I tried calling the Labour Department but couldn’t get through. MJ, Abu Dhabi

The employer is not right. It is permitted for someone on a residency visa as a sponsored dependent from one emirate to work in another provided they are issued with a Labour Card and they have the permission of their sponsor. The employer appears to be unfamiliar with the law, or it may be their preferred company policy to employ people in this way, although I would be surprised if it were the latter, as that route is much more expensive. While there are some slightly different provisions in the law relating to DIFC, as effectively they have their own rules although they closely follow UAE law. DIFC Law 4 of 2005, like UAE Labour Law, makes no mention of this being a requirement.

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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