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Changes in UAE Labour Law: What You Need to Know

Following amendments to Labour Law which came into effect from 1st February 2022, there are now 12 different types of work permits in the United Arab Emirates.

  1. Temporary work permit: This allows employers to hire employees for a project or for work that lasts a fixed period of time.
  2. One-mission permit: This allows employers to hire employees from abroad for a project or work that lasts a fixed period of time.
  3. Part-time work permit: This allows employees to work for more than one employer, subject to a fixed number of hours or days.
  4. Juvenile permit: This allows employers to hire those aged between 15 and 18, subject to the conditions specified in the law.
  5. Student training permit: This allows companies and establishments to train and recruit teenagers aged 15 and above.
  6. UAE/GCC National permit: This is when employers hire Emiratis as well those from Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
  7. Golden Visa Holders permit: This is when an employer hires a Golden Visa holder who is already in the United Arab Emirates.
  8. National Trainee permit: This allows companies and establishments to train Emiratis based on their qualifications or experience.
  9. Freelancer permit: This is issued to those who are self-sponsored expatriates who provide a service.
  10. A work permit that allows employers to hire employees from outside the United Arab Emirates.
  11. A work permit that allows an employment contract to be transferred from one employer to another.
  12. A work permit for expatriates who are sponsored by their family members.

There are also now six different work models to choose from in the United Arab Emirates. Employers and employees can mutually agree on one or a combination of different work models, provided the employee does not work more than 48 hours in a week. The law recognises that there are certain professions like doctors working overtime to save lives or pilots flying long-haul international flights where this cannot be put into practice, so for them, the cap is 144 hours in every three weeks.

  • Full-time: This is the conventional mode of employment, wherein an employee works for an employer for a full day.
  • Part-time: In this work model, an employee can work for more than one employer for a fixed period of time each day that is less than a full workday; or for a fixed number of days in a week that is less than the standard number of working days in the week.
  • Temporary: This is more of a project-specific work contract that ends with the completion of the project or job.
  • Flexible: This allows employees to work at different times of the day based on the needs of the job.
  • Remote: This allows both full-time and part-time employees to work outside the office, either partially or completely.
  • Shared: This allows the employee to split the job responsibilities and the pay with another employee or a group of employees, subject to the consent of the employer.

An employee can move from one work model to another provided he/she fulfills the obligations and commitments of the first work model. In other words, a full-time employee cannot move into a part-time work model on his/her own if the employment contract specifies that he/she work 48 hours a week and he/she has not fulfilled these obligations.


Dr.Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, the UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said that the new labour law safeguards the interests of both employers and employees, while providing enough flexibility for both. It would help attract the best talent from across the world and enhance the ease of doing business, he added.


New Horizons Business Consultants is a provider of Human Resources services based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is headed by Francesca Bouwman, who has years of experience in International Business Advisory and fluently speaks several European languages. For more details, call +971 58 500 8643 or [email protected]

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