There are many rules and regulations to changing jobs in Dubai that it can be difficult to know if you will be fined when changing jobs.
The rules used to state that if you left a job without completing 2 years with the company, then you would be placed on a work ban for at least 6 months. You would also face a 1-year ban based on the company’s request if you were to resign before completion of a limited period contract per agreed terms.
A work ban is where you are not allowed to join another company straight after you have terminated your contract at your previous company. This could be for 6 months or even 1-year.
As of January 2016, the rules on terminating your jobs have been changed, making it easier for employees to change jobs.
Now limitations are based on which employment category is on a employee’s visa.
Any employees in skill categories 1-3 will not face a 6-month employment ban if they wish to leave for another job after the completion of their notice period. Jobs within in skill categories 1-3 include specialised professionals, technicians and professional workers. Your notice period will be specified in your contract of employment, but is usually only 1 month.
You also won’t encounter any fees for changing jobs now. Employers are now also not allowed to reclaim the costs of employing you back from you after you terminate your contract. These costs would normally include recruitment fees and the cost of visas.
If you did break the terms of your fixed period contract of employment, then you could face a penalty of 45 days salary. There is no such penalty on unlimited contracts.
Limited Term Contracts
A limited term contract is usually linked to the duration of the UAE residency visa; it can be for two or three years depending on the location of the employer. This contract will automatically terminate at the end of the term unless it has been terminated or renewed earlier by either party.
This type of contract will usually be useful when an employer needs to hire employees for specific projects with the lengths of the projects being known in advance.
Unlimited Term Contracts
An unlimited term contract is an open-ended contract, meaning there is a start date but no end date. Either the employer or employee can terminate it for various reasons under the UAE Labour Law as long as 30 days notice is given. It is possible to extend the notice period by mutual agreement. During the notice period the employee’s wages will not be affect and will still be paid in full.
The employee is fully entitled to terminate the contract without notice if the employer fails to fill their obligations stated in Article 121 of the UAE labour law.
It is always good practise to read through your contract of employment before signing and double-checking everything with your employer.