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Posted on September 06 2022

What is the difference between residence permit and work visa in UAE?

By  Editor
Updated January 10 2024

Highlights: Work visa in UAE vs. UAE residence permit

  • An individual can work for a company if a work permit is enabled. Whereas a resident visa permits a foreign citizen to reside in the UAE.
  • One of the major differences between a work permit and an employment visa is two different government authorities issue them.
  • An employment visa is issued by the General Directorate of Residency Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) and the work permit will be issued to the Ministry of Human Resources of Emiratisation (MOHRE).
  • Employer-sponsored work visas have a grace period of one month.
  • An immigrant whose work visa is canceled or terminated, the employee can set up a resident visa and apply for any other visa in that one-month grace period to remain in UAE

Difference between a work permit and an employment visa

Different government authorities issue work permits and employment visas. The employment visa is issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) of the specific Emirate in the UAE.

Whereas the Ministry of Human Resources of Emiratisation (MOHRE) issues the work permit especially for the mainland companies and particular authorities of a free zone if they are free zone companies.

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According to Federal Decree-Law 33 of 2021, a person is allowed to work for an established licensed organization on a work permit. The work permits are issued to businesses with mainland UAE organizations. The businesses that are managed under a free zone, the work permit is issued by the relevant free zone.

By considering the Federal Decree Law on Entering and the Residence of Foreigners, GDRFA issues an employment visa. Foreign nationals need to obtain an employment visa that is sponsored by either a UAE national or a legitimate person or business in the UAE to work legally.

The immigrants who have received sponsorship from a private sectored organization in the UAE mainland and along with the regulation and the norms of the MOHRE, the employment visa is granted for two years.

*Do you want to work in UAE? Speak to the overseas immigration career consultant.

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Resident visa

Foreign nationals who are willing to live in UAE for a longer term must obtain a residence visa. If you want to be allowed to work then you must possess a work permit for the UAE.

First and foremost you are in requirement of an employer, who is interested to recruit you and begin with the procedure to obtain an employment visa and work permit for UAE.

Impact of Resident visa

For certain reasons, if the employer is filing and applying for the residence visa of a worker, though two different authorities grant the work permit and UAE visa, still the procedures are linked.

The immigrants who are not under the company-sponsored visa get unaffected even by the cancellation of their work permit. For example, the ones who are sponsored by the parents or spouse and the Golden visa holders.

Immigrants on the company's visa

Cancellation of a work permit and a visa are two distinct processes. Employer-sponsored visas still have a grace period for individuals.

Cancellation or termination of the work permit does not automatically mean that the visa is canceled. There will be a month grace period for the employee to take further decisions.

To remain in UAE, you can initiate your resident visa status and apply for another visa during the grace period of one month.

For example, an employer can apply for a fresh UAE residence for the applicant, if he is been hired by their new business. In other words, you can also apply for a family visa as an option.

 In case the applicant is unable to follow any of the above procedures, they must leave UAE by the end of a grace period. Because staying in the country even after visa expiration could result in getting fined with significant overstay charges.

*Do you want to migrate to UAE with Golden visa? Talk to Y-Axis, the world’ no.1 overseas career immigration consultant.

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