UAE Employment Process – A Step-by-Step Process 2023

Main Points

UAE Employment Process: From Offer Letter to Work Permit

There are number of people moving abroad to work, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular choice. The UAE has simple rules for getting a work visa, which is why many foreigners live there—about 88% of the population.

Are you thinking about working in the UAE? It’s a Great choice! But what exactly do you need to do to get started? Don’t worry, it’s not complicated.

Before moving to the UAE for work, you need to apply for a UAE work visa. This involves a few steps like picking the right work visa, getting an entry visa, applying for an Emirates ID, and having a medical checkup.

There are three main steps that you’ll go through, and I’m here to break them down for you in a simple way. These steps will help you understand how to go from receiving a job offer to actually getting permission to work in the UAE. Let’s take a closer look!

3 Steps of the UAE Employment Process :

  1. Step 1: Getting Prepared for Your UAE Job: You’re about to start on a new job journey in the UAE! Let’s break down what you need to do to get started:
    • Getting the Job Offer: The company that wants you to work for them will send you a document known as a job offer letter. This letter contains all the crucial information about the job they’re offering you. It covers things like your job role, responsibilities, salary, and benefits. Importantly, this letter also includes a summary of key points from the UAE Labour Law that apply to your job. Once you’ve received this letter and both you and the company are in agreement, you both sign it. There’s also something called a “MOHRE offer letterOpens in a new tab.” which is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. This extra step ensures that your job arrangement is legally recognized.
    • Signing the Agreement Official: When you and the company agree on the job offer, the arrangement becomes official. At this point, the company can’t make significant changes to the terms without your approval. If you sign the offer letter without carefully reading and understanding it, the company could face penalties if you later claim you weren’t aware of certain terms.
  2. Step 2: Signing the Employment Agreement
    • Confirming the Contract: Once the job offer is settled, the company will provide you with an employment contractOpens in a new tab.. This contract is based on the job offer you previously agreed upon. You have a window of 14 days after you arrive in the UAE or after your visa status is changed (for instance, when you switch from one visa type to another) to sign this contract. The signed contract needs to be submitted to MOHRE (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation).
    • Language Preferences: You have the option to select a third language for your contract, apart from Arabic and English. This additional language can be one you are comfortable with, such as Hindi or Chinese, and helps ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of your contract.
  3. Step 3: Securing Work Authorization
    • Acquiring Your Work Permit: A work permitOpens in a new tab., also known as a labor card, is your official authorization to work in the UAE. If you’re coming from another country, this permit allows you to enter the UAE to start working. If you’re already in the UAE, the company can initiate the visa application processOpens in a new tab. once they have your work permit.
    • Completing the Process: The company will guide you through additional steps, including medical tests Opens in a new tab.and obtaining an Emirates ID cardOpens in a new tab.. They will also handle the process of obtaining your work residency permit. This comprehensive procedure usually takes about 60 days to complete.

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It’s important to note that if you’re aiming for specific visa categories like the Golden Visa or Green Visa, you might need to manage some of the visa-related expenses independently.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared to start your exciting work experience in the UAE!

What Details Should be Included in Your UAE Employment Contract?

Before you sign an employment contract it is very important to understand the terms and conditions or the details of your employment contract Opens in a new tab.whether it is adhering to the UAE’s Labour Law.

Employment Contract should be signed by both the employer and the employee, in the event that the employee chooses to accept the position which outlines the basics of the employment relationships.

Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE)Opens in a new tab. has issued several Ministerial Resolutions or decrees, which provide further details on the various situations and special conditions related to the implementation of the law.

Key details that should be present in your Employment Agreement

As per The Ministry of Human Resources and EmiratisationOpens in a new tab. your employment contract should include the complete information of :

  • Your employer’s name and address.
  • Your name, where you’re from, and when you were born.
  • Proof of who you are, your qualifications, and what job you’ll do.
  • When you start working, where you’ll work.
  • How many hours you’ll work.
  • Your days off.
  • If there’s a test period when you start.
  • How long your contract is for.
  • How much you’ll be paid, including extra stuff like benefits.
  • How much vacation time you get and notice period.
  • The procedures for terminating the employment contract and any other data determined by the Ministry in order to regulate the relationship between both parties.

As per the new Labour Law the employment contracts are renewable every three years or less, depending on the agreement of both parties. The extension will be added to the worker’s end-of-service gratuity.

The employment contracts may be changed from one work model to another provided :

  • Approval of both the worker and the employer.
  • Payment of all the entitlements arising from the original contract.
  • Compliance with the procedures as set out by the Ministry.

Different Work Contract Than Offer Letter in UAE? What action can I take?

If you’re about to sign your work contract after accepting a job offer in the UAE, pay attention. Sometimes the contract might have different terms than your offer letter. This is not allowed according to the UAE’s Labour Law. What should you do if you’re in this situation? 

When you accept a job offer and sign it, that means both you and the company agree to certain terms. The work contract should have the same terms. This rule was made clear by Ministerial Decree No. 46 of 2022 and Article 4 of Ministerial Decision No. 764 of 2015.

If your contract has different terms than the offer letter, you should tell your employer. They can’t change the terms without your agreement. You can ask them to fix it so that the contract matches the offer letter.

If you’ve started working based on the offer letter, and your employer is paying you as per the offer letter, that shows both sides agree to those terms. You can use this as a reason to ask your employer to change the contract to match the offer letter.

If you find a difference between your contract and offer letter, you should talk to your employer. Give them time to fix it. If they refuse, you can get help. You can go to the Labour Department of the Emirate you work in or the Free Zone. Make sure to keep records of your conversations with your employer and read documents carefully before signing.

While your contract should match your offer letter, some changes can be made. However, changes should not violate the law and should be approved by both you and the Ministry. Any changes that go against the Labour Law are not allowed.

Remember, it’s important to make sure your work contract and offer letter match, and if there are issues, you have options to resolve them.

Can I Change Things in the Contract?

You might wonder if you can change stuff in the contract. Well, guess what? You can add new stuff if you and your boss agree. But remember, these new things must follow the laws and rules.

The contract also says you can switch the type of work you do if you both say yes, you get all the money you’re supposed to, and you follow the rules from the Ministry.

When you decide to switch, your boss has to use the right forms from the Ministry, and there are different forms for different types of work, like full-time, part-time, temporary, working from home, and others.

So, before you sign that paper, make sure your contract has all the important things and is fair to you!

What if my employer Wants Me to Pay Employment Visa Fees. What Should I Do?

In the UAE, if you’re new to work, you might be learning about the work culture and rules that affect you. To work here, you need the right work permit, and to live here, you need a valid visa.

Your employer usually covers the cost of the work visa. Your employer can’t make you pay for the visa. It’s their responsibility.

If your employer still takes money from your salary for the visa, you can complain to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). They can help you get back the money taken from you illegally.

How to Complain to MOHRE

There are places called Twa-fouq centres, approved by MOHRE, where you can complain about work problems. They’ll look into it and try to solve it. You can complain in these ways:

  1. Call MOHRE at 800 60.
  2. Use the MOHRE app to file a complaint.
  3. Go to in a new tab. and file a complaint there.

If you use the app or website, you’ll need to create an online account using your passport and work permit details. After you complain, someone from Twa-fouq centre will call you within 72 working hours to try and fix the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs on UAE Employment Process

What’s the first thing I should do when starting work in the UAE?

The initial step is to receive a job offer from the company that wants to hire you. This offer outlines the job details and includes important UAE Labour Law information. Once you and the company agree on the terms, you’ll both sign this letter.

What is a MOHRE offer letter?

A MOHRE offer letter is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. It validates the details agreed upon in your job offer, making sure everything is legally recognized for your job arrangement.

Can I change the terms of the contract after I’ve signed it? 

Yes, if both you and your employer agree, you might be able to add new clauses. These changes must follow the rules of the UAE Decree-Law and other regulations.

What’s the importance of the work permit? 

A work permit, also known as a labor card, is your official authorization to work in the UAE. If you’re coming from another country, this permit lets you enter the UAE to start your job. If you’re already in the UAE, your company can start the visa process once they have your work permit

What if I want to include a third language in my contract?

You have the option to select a third language, apart from Arabic and English, for your contract. This additional language can be chosen to ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions of your contract.

How long does the process take from job offer to work permit?

The entire process, starting from receiving a job offer to obtaining a work permit, usually takes about 60 days. This can be vary based on individual circumstances and specific visa requirements.

What if my employer doesn’t follow the terms we agreed upon in the offer letter? 

If your employer doesn’t adhere to the terms outlined in the offer letter or if you face issues related to your employment rights, you can seek guidance from authorities such as MOHRE to ensure your rights are protected.

What are the steps in employment process in UAE?

Get an employment contract from the company.
Sign the contract within 14 days of arrival.
Choose an additional language for the contract if desired.
Secure a work permit (labor card) for permission to work.
Complete tasks like medical tests and Emirates ID.
Once done, you’re set to start your UAE work journey!

What happens next after receiving an offer letter in the UAE?

If the employee is already in the UAE, they need to sign the offer letter before the employer can start seeking preliminary approval for their employment from MoHRE. Employers also have to share the details of the offer letter with MoHRE. A copy of the offer letter is kept in MoHRE’s records.

What should I do if my employer insists that I pay the employment visa fees?

You should inform your employer that this practice is against the law. You have the right to refuse to pay. If your employer deducts the amount from your salary without your consent, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

Can my employer deduct employment visa fees from my salary?

No, your employer cannot deduct employment visa fees from your salary without your permission. If they do so, you have the right to complain to MOHRE and seek to recover the amount deducted.

Can the employer change the terms of my contract after I’ve signed the offer letter?

No, the employer cannot change the terms of your contract after you’ve signed the offer letter without your agreement. The contract should reflect the terms mentioned in the offer letter.

What should I do if my contract has different terms from the offer letter?

First, discuss this with your employer. Make them aware of the discrepancies and ask for an explanation. You can request them to amend the contract to match the terms of the offer letter.

Can I refuse to sign a contract that is different from the offer letter?

Yes, you have the right to refuse to sign a contract that includes terms different from the offer letter. Communicate your concerns to your employer and seek clarification before proceeding.

What if I have already started working based on the offer letter and not the contract?

If you’ve already begun working based on the terms of the offer letter, this can be used as evidence of your intention to proceed based on those terms. You can request your employer to amend the contract accordingly.

Can my employer change my contract to include additional duties without my consent?

No, your employer cannot add additional duties to your contract without your agreement. Any changes to your job responsibilities should be mutually agreed upon between you and your employer.

Is an offer letter the same as a contract?

An offer letter and a contract might seem similar, but they have different purposes. An offer letter introduces the job to the candidate, while a contract is a serious legal paper that confirms the candidate’s acceptance of the job.

Can I change my mind after accepting a job offer and signing the contract in the UAE?

Yes, you can change your decision, but once you’ve signed the contract and the company has submitted it to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), you can’t alter the terms of the contract.

Will I be banned if I turn down a job offer?

No, you won’t be banned for declining a job offer. It’s important to provide a valid reason, such as receiving a better offer or a counteroffer from your current company. This way, you show that you had genuine considerations and weren’t just wasting their time.

Can I say no to signing a new contract? 

Yes, you have the right to refuse changes in your contract’s terms and conditions. It’s a good idea to talk about your concerns with your employer and see if you can come to an agreement. But ultimately, you can decline the changes.

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