Navigating the hiring landscape in the UAE presents distinctive challenges. It encompasses standard work contracts, comprehension of labor laws, variations in stipulations based on employment contract types, and the location of your business within a free zone.
However, fear not, as with adequate preparation and equipping yourself with the right knowledge, there’s no need for hiring in the UAE to be any more arduous than anywhere else globally – it might even prove easier in some aspects. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the strategies to streamline the hiring process in the UAE effectively.
What should you know before hiring in the UAE?
Important Considerations for Hiring in the UAE
Suppose you’re planning to hire employees in the UAE. In that case, you must familiarize yourself with several key aspects:
UAE free zones, employment visa and permit requirements for foreign nationals, and UAE labor laws.
UAE Free Zones:
The UAE offers designated free trade zones or economic territories to attract foreign businesses. With over 20 free zones in Dubai alone and dozens across the UAE, these zones provide benefits like 100% foreign ownership without local affiliation and full exemption from personal, import, and export taxes. While free zones are specific to certain industries, companies must obtain a free zone residence visa and comply with labor laws.
UAE Employment Visa and Permit Requirements:
The UAE is known for its welcoming approach to expatriates, making up over 88% of the population. Companies must apply for and sponsor their employees’ visas when hiring foreign nationals. The standard work permit is typically valid for two years, and to obtain it, foreign nationals must also secure a residence visa and Emirates ID card. The UAE offers a 10-year or Golden visa for specialized professionals like doctors, research scientists, and engineers. This visa allows long-term residency without a sponsor.
UAE Labor Law:
Expanding businesses in the UAE should have a comprehensive understanding of UAE labor law. Here are some important considerations:
- Employment Contracts:
Employers and employees must enter into written contracts before the employee starts working. These contracts are typically fixed-term and last up to three years, with the possibility of automatic extensions and no limit on the number of extensions.
- Leave Entitlements:
Employees working six months to a year in the same position are entitled to two days off monthly. Those with more than one year of service are entitled to 30 days off yearly.
- Work Hours:
Work hours vary depending on the jurisdiction. For instance, in Ajman, Ras Al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Fujairah, and Umm Al-Quwain, work hours must be eight hours per day or 48 hours per week for a six-day workweek. In the free zones Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), work hours must be 48 hours per week for a seven-day workweek.
Termination notices by either the employer or employee must typically be at least 30 days and a maximum of 90 days, though this can vary by jurisdiction. For example, in the DIFC, the minimum notice period is seven days for less than three months of service, 30 days for at least three but less than five years, and 90 days for five or more years of service.
UAE labor law mandates that employers pay severance based on the length of employment. For instance, for the first five years of service, employers must provide 21 days of wages for each year of service, and for each subsequent year of service, 30 days of wages must be paid.
By understanding and adhering to these crucial aspects, employers can ensure a smooth and compliant hiring process in the UAE.
What is the process of hiring in the UAE?
The Process of Hiring in the UAE:
The initial hiring process involves advertising the job to attract potential candidates. The advertisement should encompass the job description and the specific criteria for selection, such as educational qualifications and skill sets. Additionally, companies should include essential details like whether it’s a remote or office-based position.
Secondly, outline the job requirements in the job description clearly and gather applications from various candidates. Subsequently, conduct interviews to assess their alignment with the company’s goals and values.
Verification of Legal Status
Verifying whether the candidate is legally permitted to work in the country is crucial.
Approvals and Permits
Once the candidate’s legal status is confirmed, the next step is to obtain a Labor Card and Immigration Card to hire employees in the UAE legally. It necessitates contacting the Ministry of Labor for the necessary approvals.
Providing a formal job offer is essential for both parties, as it outlines all the intricate details of the role and employment terms.
A work permit from the relevant authorities is necessary for expatriates arriving in the UAE. This process involves several steps, including adhering to the Ministry’s guidelines for medical tests, completing documentation and application procedures, and undergoing biometric verification.
Within 14 days of the employee’s arrival in the UAE, the company must officially submit the final employment contract to the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE).
It is crucial to consider including a pension plan and other retirement benefits outlined by the UAE Labour Law when hiring UAE nationals. While pension benefits do not apply to expat employees, they are mandatory for local citizens.
What are the options you have for hiring in the UAE?
When hiring employees in the UAE, various modes are available to employers. However, they offer flexibility and different contractual arrangements:
- Limited Contract:
This type of employment comes with a defined period and a clear termination clause. The contract’s duration is a maximum of three years, and companies can renew it if both parties agree.
- Partial / Part Time / Flexible Contract:
Among the most prevalent forms of contracts, this option does not commit either party to a long-term commitment. It allows for easy termination with just 30 days of prior written notice.
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