Free zone enforcing new rules on labor cards, change of status

30 Oct 17

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

IMPACT – MEDIUM

The Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority has updated its rules on issuance of labor cards and change-of-status applications for certain nationalities.

Key points:

  • DAFZA has begun issuing electronic labor cards. Authorities are no longer issuing physical labor cards. This is true for DAFZA-sponsored employees, non-sponsored ID recipients and for employees who change sponsors and, thus, receive an updated labor card. E-labor cards can be retrieved from the employee profile on DAFZA’s Tas’heel online portal.
  • DAFZA will no longer approve change of status for in-country employment and residence visa applications for Chinese or South Korean nationals. DAFZA, along with the mainland and all other Dubai free zones, is also enforcing a UAE-wide rule that changes of status to employment and residence permits will not be approved in-country for Indian nationals who entered the UAE on a 14-day visa-on-arrival on the basis of having a U.S. green card.

BAL Analysis:Employers should take note of the changes and inform employees that labor cards will no longer be issued in hard copy form, but instead will be made available through the Tas’heel portal, which should happen automatically once residence permits are issued. Chinese and South Korean nationals submitting change-of-status applications to DAFZA authorities, meanwhile, must leave the UAE and apply for a change of status abroad.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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