Abu Dhabi is one of the most preferred destinations for jobseekers to find employment because of its booming economy. The chief attraction is its tax-free environment and its openness to the world cultures. Jobseekers falling in all categories – professionals, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled can find profitable employment here. It is also an ideal place for expatriates for setting up business as partners or investors. Whether it is business or employment, foreigners are required to obtain a Work Permit or be in possession of a valid Residence Visa.

Work Permits

There are 4 types of Work Permits:

  • Permits for working with public sector (federal ministries, government entities, rulers and their representatives’ courts and the entities which are not governed by the Labour Law)
  • Permits for working with the private sector
  • Permits for working as licence holders (investors and partners)
  • Permits for working for individuals, such as servants, private drivers, farmers, shepherds, etc.

The local employer is responsible for obtaining a Work Permit on your behalf. The processing of the application is done by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs – Abu Dhabi (GDRFA). To help the employer obtain the work permit you may be required to submit a copy of your passport (valid at least for 6 months) and such other documents as required by the employer. Typically the other documents will include medical test reports, entry permit…etc.

Only the following groups are allowed to bring in their families when working in Abu Dhabi: engineers, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, agricultural guides, qualified accountants & auditors, teachers, education members in universities & higher education institutions, officers in the air force, army and police, technicians working with electronic instruments and in laboratories, advocates and lawmen, employees of oil companies, qualified managers, and partners in limited companies who hold at least one third of shares or have invested at least 70,000 AED. Family includes only the spouse, sons under 18 years and unmarried daughters.

Further, those who fall in this group should be drawing at least 4,000 AED if accommodation is provided by the employer, or 5,000 AED if not. Employees can also bring in a servant if the employee’s salary is a minimum of 6,000 AED.

Residence Visa

There are 2 types of Residence Visas:

  • Employment Residence Visas
  • Investor Residence Visas

Employees who have signed an employment contract with one of the functional companies in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) or a government entity are entitled for an Employment Residence Visa upon signing the contract; and the employer or the sponsor is expected to proceed with the process of obtaining it.

If you plan to do business (in partnership with a local resident) you will have to obtain an Investor Residence Visa. For that you will be required to submit copies of the trade licence, establishment card and UAE e-gate card or the stamp and Ministry of Economy inspection report.

Once approved, the visa will be stamped on the passport of the applicant.

The following documents are required for obtaining visa.

  • Copies of education certificates or other academic documents
  • Original passport valid for at least months and a copy of the same
  • 2 passport size photos
  • Residence visa application form signed and stamped by the company
  • Original entry permit
  • Copy of establishment card
  • Copy of Emirates ID card or registration receipt
  • Residence-visa medical check-up report
  • Copy of health insurance card or subscription receipt

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