As of January 1, 2016, new labor laws governing the employment and work authorization of foreign nationals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will take effect. The new regulations will include stipulations on employment offer letters, conditions for the termination of foreign employees, and the criteria required for a new employer to be able to obtain a work permit for an employee whose employment ended with a previous employer. The objective of the Ministry of Labour is to enhance the relationship between employers and workers and to encourage more lenient labor mobility for workers.

The Ministerial Decrees 764, 765 and 766 are aimed to provide greater transparency and stricter monitoring of labor contract conditions. The Ministerial Decrees are designated as follows:

Ministerial Decree 764

A worker must be given an employment offer that complies with the unified contract approved by the Ministry and is to be signed by the worker. The unified contract cannot be revised unless it is approved by the Ministry.

Ministerial Decree 765

This decree outlines the conditions for when a contract can be terminated for fixed-term and unlimited-term contracts. Fixed-term contracts of no more than two years can be terminated if the term of the contract expires, if the employer and worker mutually agree to end the contract, or if either party gives written notice at least one month in advance but no longer than three months.

Unlimited-term contracts can be terminated if both parties mutually agree to the termination, if either party gives written notice at least one month in advance but no longer than three months, or if one party acts to terminate the contract but endures the consequences of early termination.

Ministerial Decree 766

New work permits can be granted to both fixed-term and unlimited term contracts upon termination of the worker’s employment if the contract expires, if the employer and worker mutually agree to end the contract, if either party gives written notice at least one month in advance but no longer than three months, or if the worker was terminated by the employer without reason provided the worker has completed at least six months of the contract term. The six month period is not required for workers who have obtained a high-school degree or higher.

The new employers can acquire a work permit for a foreign worker previously employed under an unlimited-term contract if the worker completed at least six months of the contract term, if the contract was terminated by mutual agreement, if either party gave written notice of at least one month in advance but no longer than three months, or if employer terminated the contract without reason. The six month period is not required for workers who have obtained a high-school degree or higher.

Additionally, foreign workers may also obtain a work permit under a new employer if the previous employer violates its legal and contractual responsibilities concerning the worker, if the previous employer failed to pay wages for more than 60 days or if the previous employer has been inactive for more than two months.


Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.