Connecticut, US

Feb 12 2020

New Rules Imposed for Work Permit Renewals and Job Title Amendments

United Arab Emirates

At a Glance

  • Effective immediately, applicants renewing their work permits in mainland United Arab Emirates will be required to amend their job title if it is not on the new list of occupations for foreign nationals used by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization.
  • Furthermore, due to a discrepancy between occupation lists used by different government authorities, the job title printed on a foreign national’s work permit may not match the one printed on the visa sticker endorsed in their passport; in these cases, foreign nationals will be required to amend their job title in the immigration system.
  • Additionally, applicants renewing their work permits or amending their salary information or job title in the mainland must submit an attested education certificate if required by the occupation list for their job title.

The situation

Effective immediately, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) has implemented new rules concerning the amendment of job titles for work permit renewals; job title discrepancies and requirements for education certificates.

A closer look

Details of the changes include the following:

CHANGE PREVIOUS RULE IMPACT
  • Renewal of work permit.

    Effective immediately, applicants renewing their work permit in mainland United Arab Emirates must amend their job title if it is not on the new list of occupations for foreign nationals used by the MOHRE.
  • Before, applicants could continue using their previous job title when they renewed their work permit, even if the title wasn’t consistent with the updated list of occupations. 
  • If the desired job title is not on the new list of occupations, the employer must amend the title at the time of renewal of the work permit.
  • Employers must carefully select a job title that matches the foreign national’s responsibilities and educational qualifications.
  • If required by the occupational classification scheme, the applicant must provide an attested education certificate. 
  • Job title discrepancies.

    Due to a discrepancy between occupation lists used by different government authorities, the job title printed on a foreign national’s work permit may not match the one printed on the visa sticker endorsed in the passport. In such cases, the foreign national’s employer must amend the employment residence permit file with the immigration authorities.
  • Previously, discrepancies between job titles in labour and immigration files were less common, as the occupational lists used by the government authorities were more consistent with each other.
  • If there is a discrepancy in the job titles, the employer could face government fees and the foreign national will not be allowed to travel internationally until a new visa sticker is endorsed in their passport.
  • Education certificates.

    Applicants renewing their work permits or amending their salary information or job title in the mainland must submit an attested education certificate if required for their job title. Under the UAE occupational classification scheme, each job title belongs to one of five levels of professional skills which determines whether or not a degree certificate must be provided.
  • Previously, applicants only had to submit proof of education for a new work permit application or for the change of job title to one that required a certificate. This was not required at the work permit renewal stage or for other labor-related transactions such as the amendment of salary information.
  • Applicants working in the mainland should keep their education certificates on file after their initial work permit is granted in case they are required for their work permit renewal or amendment of salary information or job title.
  • Individuals whose job title is amended to one that requires proof of education and who did not have to present such certificate previously should expect delays in their immigration process until their education certificate has been attested for use in the United Arab Emirates. 

 

Background

The occupational classification scheme currently used by the MOHRE is comprised of 1,250 titles in five levels of professional skills that determine whether an attested education certificate must be provided by a work permit applicant. The previous list was comprised of over 700 job titles with job descriptions in nine professional categories. The MOHRE updates this list frequently to expand the job titles reserved for UAE nationals and to eliminate the job titles that are no longer in use in the country. The scheme was implemented to promote the employment of skilled workers and to increase transparency in the labor market.

Looking ahead

As the United Arab Emirates continues to try to increase Emirati employment in the private sector (particularly in skilled professions), additional rules and restrictions on hiring practices for foreign nationals could be forthcoming. However, the country intends to balance these restrictions with relaxed rules meant to attract investment in the country, including the waiver of administrative fines and the introduction of a long-term residence program. Fragomen will provide updates as they become available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to mideast@fragomen.com.