Visa Ban in UAE
Labour Ban and Immigration ban is still a big confusion for employees here in UAE. A ban on visa means, that the person who is served the particular ban is not entitled to live and work in the UAE for a particular time or permanently. This may happen in a way of:
- Immigration Ban
- Labour Ban
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Immigration Ban or Residence Ban
If you have immigration ban in UAE, you are not supposed to enter UAE or obtain residency in UAE. You may be served with immigration ban if you have committed criminal offences. In case you have Bounced cheques, bad debt cases against you, you will have immigration ban till the time you are cleared or you have served your sentence. You may also be served immigration ban if you have been found drunk driving, theft and other crimes. If you have entered UAE with illegal means, then too you will be facing immigration ban.
In case if you have absconded from your work and have not reported to work for a prolonged time, your employer may list you under absconding list, and you will have immigration ban. The changes in labour ban has not affected the immigration ban. Immigration ban is issued by Department of Naturalisation and Immigration in UAE, which is part of Ministry of Interior.
There are 2 types of labour bans:
- 6 Month Labour Ban
- One year Labour Ban
6 Month Ban
In the past, companies and employers were able to prevent their employees from changing jobs for 6 months by imposing what is called as labour ban. This would ban an employee from changing visa for the first 6 months of cancelling visa/labour card. This ban system was removed after UAE Cabinet Resolution No 25 of 2010, which removed ban after continuous work of Two years with employer.
MOL came up with new resolutions in lates 2015 and early 2016 which mandated that with educational certificates (Attested high school diploma or greater submitted as part of the visa application process) or who have been working for more than Six months, will not face any labour ban. However, there are instances and examples that Authorities still impose labour bans. However, the labor ban has no impact in free zones.
A 6 month labour ban is an automatic ban which is imposed when you leave your current job without any proper reason. Every employee under Ministry of Labour is automatically banned for 6 month; unless they are exempt from ban due to their new employer status (Freezone, Government), qualification above High School Diploma and salary of AED 5000 for High School, AED 7000 for Diploma holders and AED 12000 for Bachelor’s degree holders.
If you have 6 month labour ban, there is no restriction for you to enter UAE on visit or tourist visa.
One year Ban
A one year ban will be imposed if you have not completed your limited labour contract. You will not be able to visit UAE in case you have been slapped with One Year Labour ban.
One year ban is also imposed if:
- Expatriate worker leaves Government job.
- If you break terms and conditions of your labour contract.
- If you lose a case in the court against your employer.
Labor Ban: Limited Term Contract
First 6 months of employment After 6 months of employment After Renewal of Initial Fixed Term
With Education Certificate Limited risk of labor ban if:
1. the employer consents to
2. employer terminates
Risk of ban if employer does not consent to employee resignation, unless if resignation is effective as of the end of a limited term contract Generally no labor ban, but risk of ban if the employee breaches the Labor Law or contract, such as not giving and honoring the required notice period.
No Education Certificate Risk of ban if,
1. Before end of limited term
2. Employer does not consent
during the limited term.
Labor Ban: Unlimited Contract
First 6 months of employment After 6 months of employment
With Education Certificate Risk of labor ban, unless:
1. Mutual agreement of the parties;
2. The employer has failed to meet its legal or contractual
obligations, including, without limitation, the duty to pay the
wages for over 60 days; or
3. The employer winds up its business; or
4. Court ruling in favor of the employee.
Generally no labor ban, but risk of ban if the employee breaches the Labor Law or contract, such as not giving and honoring the required notice period
No Education Certificate Risk of labor ban, unless:
1. The employer has failed to meet its legal or contractual
obligations, including, without limitation, the duty to pay the
wages for over 60 days
2. The employer winds up its business.
3. Court ruling in favor of the employee.
Ban in Free Zones
Some free zones also apply bans on the transfer of employees within companies in the free zones registered within them without the approval of the previous employer. The information bans are often not publicized and this policy keeps changing from time to time, and from free zone to free zone.
How to lift labour ban in UAE or immigration ban in UAE?
To read more, please visit the article on how to lift 6 month labour ban.
Many professional workers can lift the ban, as the ban is typically waived if an employee moves to a position with a higher salary of AED 5,000 for high school diploma, AED 7,000 for post-secondary diploma, and AED 12,000 for bachelor degrees).
Under which situations there is no Labour Ban?
If you fall under below categories, you may not have a labour ban:
- UAE Nationals will not have labour ban or immigration ban.
- If you are joining an oil company.
- If you are joining Government or Semi-government organisation.
- If you are changing jobs within the same Free zone.
- If you have completed your contract term under limited contract.
- If you have completed 3 years of service under unlimited contract.
Permanent residence ban
A permanent residency ban is applied for serious labour offences committed, like illegal or absconding workers and convicted felons. The Federal Department of Immigration maintains a file of fingerprint samples and retina scans of banned individuals so that they are not able to return to UAE in the future.
Comparison between Immigration Ban and Labour Ban:
Removing Immigration ban in UAE.
Immigration Ban Labor Ban
Who regulates this? Immigration and Naturalization Department, Ministry of Interior Ministry of Emiratization and Human Resources (former Ministry of Labor)
When is this ban imposed? Employer must submit a formal complaint that the employee either:
1. committed a crime; or
2. seriously damaged the employer.
See tables related to Limited Contract and Unlimited Contract above.
What is the scope of ban? Prevents the person from entering or staying in the country. An immigration ban is typically followed by an order to leave the UAE or Deportation. Prevents the person from applying for a new work visa, but not from entering or residing in the country. A labor ban does not prevent a person from visiting the UAE by way of a valid visit visa
How long is this ban? One year (generally), but may be as short of six months or may be a lifetime ban depending from case to case This is applied for six months generally.
Where is this applicable? The territory of the UAE, without exception. The territory of the UAE outside the free zones. Although some free zones maintain separate labor ban systems, a labor ban may stop an employee from being issued a work visa in a free zone, or to work for a government entity
Can you lift the ban? Immigration ban can not be lifted although may be removed on an exceptional basis. Can be lifted withh:
1. a court order;
2. the issuance of a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the former employer; and
3. in some cases, the payment of a fine.
How to check UAE visa ban status / immigration blacklist check/ immigration travel ban / passport ban with passport number?
The best way to check your ban status in UAE is to call up the Immigration department in case of Immigration ban and MOL in case of Labour ban. Give the call centre agent your passport number and other details like previous visa number and they’d provide you with an update. If you have left the UAE with some debts behind, the financial institution may have filed a case against you. In such cases, your representative can walk into any Dubai Police stations with your passport copy, Emirates ID (if available) and Authority Letter to check for any cases registered. If the cases are registered, then definitely you may have immigration ban meaning you will not be able to transit or enter UAE.
To check whether you have a labour ban, you will need to call MOL or MOHRE on their call centre number and enquire with your Passport Number or Emirates ID.
Please note, you also should take consultation of a qualified Lawyer in UAE for these procedures.
Under What circumstance I can get a Labour ban?
When an employee violates the provision of the UAE Labour Law and / or related ministerial resolutions and circulars or does not observe the terms and conditions stipulated in the employment contract Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) or the General Directorate of Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) can issue a labour ban. When a labour ban issued the employee is not legally allowed to work in another company in UAE for a certain period of time till the ban period is completed which may be for a one year.
The reasons of a Labour ban issued by the GDRFA are different from those issued by MOHRE.
This could be based on other reasons not related to employment issues, such as serious criminal offences, security reasons, illegal entry to the UAE and so on.
To whom Labour ban can be imposed and how this is imposed?
If an employee violated the UAE Labour Law and its related executive resolutions ,Labour ban can be imposed to anyone whether they may be under the category of skilled or non skilled workers.
The ban can be issued not only to who has residence visa but also to a employee who is having labour contract and work permit under the family visa sponsorship.
There is no eService to apply for a Labour ban against an employee. However, the application of ban requires an investigation from a legal representative from MOHRE who would invite both parties, the employer and employee, take their statements, judge the seriousness of the request and decide whether to accept it or not.
When can the employer apply for a Labour ban?
The employer can impose a labour ban under below circumstances: if an employee
- committed any of the violations listed in Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law
- stayed in the UAE after the termination of his employment contract, for any reason, for more than two months without legal justification
- worked with another company without obtaining a work permit from MOHRE
- illegally terminated the employment contract or did not observe the provisions of the UAE Labour Law. For example, not respecting the notice period mentioned in his non-limited contract or terminating his limited contract before the end of its duration
Additionally, a Labour ban is imposed on a new non-skilled worker who did not complete six months of service with their respective employers.
How long the Labour ban can be for and what will happen to the residence visa?
The Labour ban can be for one year or permanent. Once you have the labour ban it cancels the work permit. Upon cancellation the employer must proceed to the cancellation procedure of the residence visa of the employee whom the labour ban is imposed.
If the banned employee is on the family sponsorship (spouse or parents) he or she can maintain the residence visa but not allowed to work for the duration of the ban.
If the banned employee is outside the country, no new work permit will be issued to him until the lapse of the ban period.
How can I check if there is a Labour ban imposed on me?
You can call MOHRE on 800 60 or visit their website. You can also visit a Tasheel centre.
Can I contest the Labour ban?
You can contest a Labour ban by submitting a grievance to MOHRE through one of its Tasheel centres, via the MOHRE website –www.mohre.gov.ae or email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find a Tasheel centre near you, click here: https://www.mohre.gov.ae/en/services/labour-offices.aspx.
You must attach all supporting documents with your grievance, which prove that you do not deserve a ban.
You will then receive a reference number to follow up on your request.
MOHRE will form a special committee chaired by the undersecretary and certain directors of departments to study these requests and decide whether to lift or maintain the ban.
Afterwards, the employee will be notified of the decision of the committee.
Is it possible to cancel the Labour ban?
No, once the labour ban is issued you cannot cancel a Labour ban or get it waived by paying a fee. A labour ban is lifted automatically after the lapse of the ban period imposed by MOHRE.
Disclaimer: This article is only for information purpose. You are requested to consult a Lawyer for all legal matters.