The fact of the matter is, nowhere in the world is immune from the global financial crisis – not even Dubai where the streets are seemingly paved with gold.  Dubai is exposed to global economic instability as any other country in the world. In this article we look at what to do if you lose your job in Dubai.

Losing a job is never a pleasant experience. Whilst we hope that it doesn’t happen to you, if it does happen you need to know what practical steps you can take to get back into employment or get back home.

The good news for those who are laid off from a company that remains in business is that the rules relating to you changing your job in Dubai have changed for the better.  If you’re made redundant, chances are you’ll still be on relatively good terms with your employer – i.e., you will have been laid off because of economics rather than sacked for poor performance – and therefore your employer should assist you when it comes to finding a new job.  This means that swapping the sponsor for your employment visa will be far simpler.

However, you only have a month in which to find a new job.  Therefore the pressure is really on.  You need to target rival companies, you need to speak to former associates about positions potentially available in their company, you need to go door to door, target recruitment companies and be as proactive as you possibly can be in finding a new job.  Assuming you are fortunate enough to find a new employer within the month, you then need to ask your former employer for a certificate of no objection to you having a new job.  This will allow your new employer to take over the sponsorship of your employment visa.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be made redundant from a company that fails to pay out your remaining salary and holiday pay at the very least, you need to make a claim against the company.  However, when proceeding you must do so with caution and follow the proper channels otherwise you risk deportation.  Take your complaint to the Ministry of Labour and be as patient as possible.  Those who have a legitimate case will be given the help and support they need, including being given temporary work permits allowing them to remain in the emirate beyond the one month grace period.  If the Ministry cannot resolve the complaint then you can go through the court system – but the very first thing you need to do then is get a formal letter from the court explaining the situation so that you can present this to the Department of Naturalisation and Residency and the Ministry of Labour.  You should then be given a further extension on your permission to reside in Dubai.

If you’re working for a company and it closes or ceases operations in Dubai then the situation is again different.  We would advise you speak to the Ministry of Labour for specific advice as rules and regulations change all the time.  Basically, if you can get an attested certificate of company closure you will be able to transfer the sponsorship of your work visa to a new employer, but again, you have to find a new employer within a month or risk deportation as your visa runs out.

In all of the above situations, a solicitor who has experience in labour law could be invaluable to you – click here to be redirected to an external site that lists lawyers in Dubai, but please note that we cannot attest to the accuracy of the site or to the competency of the lawyers that it lists.

Finally, if losing your job in Dubai means that it is time for your to leave the United Arab Emirates, there is a lot for you to organise in a very short space of time.  If you are renting a property you need to contact your landlord and determine whether you can recoup any of the rent that you have already paid out or if you’re allowed to find someone to take on your lease.  If you explain your situation and give as good a sob story as you can, perhaps even involving some tears, you are more assured of a fair hearing.  If you own a home in the emirate perhaps you could consider letting it out, given that the market is relatively saturated with homes for sale right now.  You need to organise the shipping of your belongings back home, you need to take children out of school and get them into a school back home, you need to sell your car and tie up all loose ends.

Call on friends and colleagues to assist you, speak to any associations that might be able to advise and help as well.  You can try the British Business Group, Dubai Caledonian Society (Call: 050 8437608), Dubai Irish Society, International Business Women’s Group in Dubai (contact Sue-Sharyn Ward or even the Dubai St George’s Society – these organisations may have members looking to take over the rental lease of your property, willing to buy your car, interested in taking your child’s place at a school or they may be in a position to help you network and find a new job.

Finally, if you do lose your job in Dubai, don’t panic and start thinking negatively, (oh how easy to say), but you actually have to move very quickly to find new work or organise your leaving Dubai fully prepared.  Therefore, you have no time to dwell on the situation, you can do that later, you need to be proactive and positive and find a way out of the situation that’s right for you and for your family.