Around the developed world, the very nature of work is undergoing fundamental change. The emergence of the ‘gig-economy' based on flexible, often-freelance work is replacing large portions of the traditional full-time labour market in the Western world.
Some commentators see the ‘gig-economy' as a form of exploitation with very little workplace protection, while others see it as a working environment offering flexibility with regard to employment hours.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), however, with its expansive control over the supply of labour to its burgeoning workforce and the government's focus on traditional models of full-time employment, the notion of labour flexibility, coupled with these emerging models of work have struggled to be warmly embraced. Even the concept of part-time work has battled for legal acceptance until recently.
Part-Time Work An Attractive Legal Option In the UAE
Many residents would welcome the opportunity to earn extra income on a part-time basis with a different employer, while maintaining their regular job. For their part, many employers would enjoy the opportunity to access a wider talent pool without the complexity and cost of adding to their full-time payroll.
However, there is a misconception that part-time work is not permissible in the UAE and you might be flouting the law if you were to accept part-time work. As the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) has made clear, some pathways exist to enable a resident to opt for a part-time role by obtaining a part-time work permit.
UAE Clarifies Its Part-Time Work Conditions
Part-time jobs have always been subject to doubt and some confusion in the minds of UAE residents. The UAE's visa processes and requirements can be daunting, expensive and confusing. However, many residents would love to be able to earn some extra money on the side but don't understand how to do it legally.
As the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) makes clear, UAE residents can accept part-time jobs provided they have the correct temporary work permits issued specifically to cover part-time jobs. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) is responsible for issuing these part-time job permits.
Who Can Apply For A Part-Time Work Permit?
Any UAE resident whether employed or unemployed over the age of 18 years can apply for a part-time work permit.
In the case of employed residents legally seeking work part-time in the UAE, the employer and employee must register with MOHRE.
The following categories are eligible for the issuance of these temporary and part-time work permits:
- Employees registered at the Ministry who hold a valid labour card
- Persons who meet the above conditions based on their family residency status
- Students over 18 years of age
- Government employees
Preclusions From Part-Time Work Permit
Any person in the United Arab Emirates on a visit or tourist visa cannot work part time legally in the UAE as they do not have a legal sponsor be it an employer, spouse, or parent in the country. Similarly, any resident over the age of 65 years is not eligible for a part-time work permit.
Part-Time Work Permit Validity
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation's part-time work permit is valid for one year and is renewable after the completion of the year, subject to the discretion of MOHRE.
Applicants for a part-time work permit must provide:
- Valid passport and visa copy
- One passport size photograph with white background
- NOC from your existing full-time employer
- Copy of your labour card / UAE Emirates ID / labour contract
- Labour Establishment card for both companies; (if applicable)
- Passport copy of the Sponsor (if sponsored by a spouse or parent)
When Is An NOC Required?
One of the critical documents when applying for a part-time work permit is a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your existing employer. The law states the entity where the applicant currently works must provide approval in case of part-time or temporary work if the applicant's current employment is with another organization.
The prospective part-time employer should also provide an NOC ensuring all parties are clear about the exact work or residency situation of the applicant.
Cases Where Approval From Current Employer Is Not Needed
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has the authority to approve a temporary work permit without the consent of the establishment where the employee works and without the necessary validity of his residency and labour card if the employee has an ongoing labour complaint referred by the Ministry to the court.
The Ministry, at its discretion, may issue the employee a part-time work permit for more than one establishment.
Application Procedure For A Part-Time Work Permit
Once you have compiled all your documents, the prospective part-time Employer must submit them through any Tasheel authorized centre. The part-time employer must also make the certain payments towards the application and obtaining a part-time work permit.
Does A Part-Time Work Permit Apply To Trading Or Business?
The part-time work permit only allows residents to work for companies registered under the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on a part-time or weekend basis. Anyone looking to trading or managing a business activity part-time must have approval by the Ministry and go through the appropriate channels for licensing and government approvals.
It is essential to be familiar with the requirements of the UAE Labour Law when applying to work part-time in the UAE. Potential employers should also ensure that they stay abreast of any changes in the legislation when recruiting new part-time hires.
Employers are responsible for complying with the Ministry's documentation requirements and for ensuring your employees abide by the terms of their work permits.
Failure to live up to your legal responsibilities in the UAE can leave your organization open to a range of penalties.
The ability of residents to work part time legally in the UAE is a little-known employment option. For residents, it is an opportunity to earn some welcome extra income. For prospective employers, it opens up the ability to access a flexible pool of labour without incurring the risk and financial exposure associated with going down the full-time employment route.
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