Know your legal rights in the UAE.
Q. I work at a big UAE firm as an information technology (IT) specialist. However, I have a much lower ‘occupation’ status on my visa. My boss had assured me that I would be given an official status after a few months on the job. That was four years ago. My current salary is about two per cent of the designated pay for the work I do. Also, I was not even given any contract. Now, my employer keeps sending people to train, but they are not competent enough. Do I have the right to refuse to train them? The roles in my department require highly skilled personnel.
A. Pursuant to your queries, we assume that you are a qualified IT engineer and are employed in a mainland establishment based in the UAE. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating employment relations (the ‘Employment Law’); Ministerial Decree No. (766) of 2015 on rules and conditions for granting a permit to an employee for employment by a new employer (the ‘Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015’); and Ministerial Order No. (13) of 1991 on the organisation of the transfer of sponsorships of non-national labours and the rules governing the same (the ‘Ministerial Order No. 13 of 1991’) are applicable.
It may be noted that your employment responsibilities to your employer will be in accordance with the designation mentioned in your UAE residence visa and the work permit registered with the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE). Accordingly, the designation mentioned in your UAE residence visa and the registered work permit shall be your actual designation for legal purposes. Therefore, you may refuse to train individuals, as this may not form a part of your work assignment as agreed upon between you and your employer.
Further, should you choose to leave your current employment and join a new employment, your employer may not be in a position to impose an employment ban on you as you hold a qualification of an engineer. This is in accordance with Article 2 of the Ministerial Order No. 13 of 1991, which states: “Non-national employees may be allowed to transfer one job to another and hence transfer of their sponsorship if they fall under the following categories:
. Doctors, pharmacists, and male and female nurses …
(in case of transfer of sponsorship from a private firm to another or from a private firm to another or to a government department).”
In furtherance of the above, an employment ban may not be imposed upon you if you resign from your current employment by serving the notice period mentioned in your employment contract. As you are uncertain whether you have signed your employment contract, it is recommended that you approach the MOHRE and request them to provide you with a copy. The employment contract may mention the notice period to be served by the employer and the employee if they wish to terminate the employment contract.
Article 1 (I) (4) (a) (for limited period of employment contract) and Article 1 (II) (2) (for unlimited period of employment contract) of the Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015 mentions the requirements of an employee if he intends on resigning from his current employer to join a new employer.
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may resign from your employment by serving the relevant notice period mentioned in your employment contract. However, if you intend to resign from your employment without serving the notice period, you may be obligated to compensate your employer by paying a compensation in lieu of the unserved notice period.
Know the law:
Should you choose to leave your current employment and join a new employment, your employer may not be in a position to impose an employment ban on you as you hold a qualification of an engineer.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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