UAE labour law: How an employment ban may be imposed on you

All you need to know about this employment law


Question: I work in a mainland company in Dubai. I wish to understand what career moves I could make that would result in an employment ban being imposed on me. I understand this question is very generic, but I am new to this country and there is a lot of conflicting information about this online. Thanks.

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, as you are employed in a mainland company based in Dubai, the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the ‘Employment Law’) and the provisions of Ministerial Decree No. 1094 of 2016 Amending Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015 on Rules and conditions for Granting a permit to an Employee for Employment by a New Employer (the ‘Termination of Employment Relations Decree of 2016’) are applicable.

An employee who is under a limited period of contract may not be able to terminate it until its expiry to avoid any possible employment ban of one year.

This is in accordance with Article 128 of the Employment Law, which states: “Where a non-national employee leaves his work without a valid reason before the expiry of a contract for a limited period, he may not, even with the employer's consent, take up other employment for one year from the date on which he left his work. It shall not be lawful for any other employer who is aware of the fact to recruit such employee or keep him in his service before the expiry of such period."

Further, an employee who is under an unlimited period of contract may terminate it by mutually agreeing with his employer upon completion of six months or by serving a notice period.

This is in accordance with Article 1(II) of the Termination of Employment Relations Decree of 2016. Further, Article 129 of the Employment Law states that an employee on unlimited period of contract may terminate it by serving the notice period to avoid possible employment ban of one year.

But Article 129 of the Employment Law is silent related to minimum term of employment that an employee should undergo with his employer prior to the service of the notice period to terminate his unlimited period of employment contract.

However, there may be no aforesaid employment ban if an employee fulfils the skill level and salary criteria in the new employment.

This is in accordance with Article 4 of the Ministerial Resolution No. (1186) for 2010 Rules and Conditions of Granting a New Work Permit to an Employee after Termination of the Work Relationship in Order to Move from One Establishment to Another, which states: "As an exception to the provision of the Item No. (2) of Article 2 of this Resolution, the Ministry may issue a work permit to an employee without requiring the two-year period in the following cases:

a) In the event that the employee is starting his new position at the first, second or third professional levels after fulfilling the conditions for joining any of these levels according to the rules in force at the Ministry, and provided that his new salary is not less than AED 12,000 at the first professional level, AED 7,000 at the second professional level and AED 5,000 at the third professional level."

It should be also noted that an employee may face employment ban if he is terminated on grounds of drunkenness, influence of drugs or on grounds of assaulting his employers or colleagues as stated in Article 120 (8) & (9) of the Employment Law.

Further, an employee may also face an employment ban if he is convicted by a court for any of the criminal acts in the UAE. Thereby, his employment contract is terminated on grounds mentioned in Article 120 (7) of the Employment Law.


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