Question: My son had been working in the UAE for the last 20 years. He went to Pakistan for a holiday, but could not return or apply for an extension of his leave as his son suddenly fell ill. It has been over six months now. We are assuming that his UAE employment and residence visa might have been automatically cancelled. Can he return to the UAE on a fresh visit visa? What’s the procedure to know if there are any problems or case filed against him?
Answer: The rules regarding expiry or cancellation of visa are to be found in the Federal Law No (6) for 1973 concerning immigration and residence as amended by virtue of Law No. 7 of 1985, Law No. 13 of 1996 and Federal Decree- Law No. 17 of 2017 (the ‘Federal Residency Law’) read with the provisions of the Ministerial Decision No. (360) of 1997 regrading the issuance of executive regulation of the Federal Law No. (6) of 1973 concerning the entry and residence of foreigners (the ‘Federal Residency Rules’).
In view of your queries, it may be noted that residence/employment visas for expatriates in the UAE may be deemed to have been cancelled if the individual concerned stays outside the UAE for a continuous period of six months. This is in accordance with Article 61 of the Federal Residency Rules, which reads as follows:
“The residence permit granted to the foreigner shall be deemed to have been cancelled if the period of his stay outside the country exceeds six months.”
However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, which are stated under Article 62 of the Federal Residency Rules that read as follows:
“As an exception from the provisions of Article (61) hereof, the residence permit shall continue to be valid until the end of its term for the following categories:
a) The foreigner wives of UAE national.
b) Servants accompanying UAE nationals delegated to study abroad.
c) Servants and escorts of UAE national patients travelling or sent for medical treatment abroad.
d) Foreign patients (and their escorts) who are travelling or sent for medical treatment abroad, holding valid residence permits, provided that they present a medical report approved by the Ministry of Health or the Medical Services of the Armed Forces or Police.
e) Servants of the members of the diplomatic and consular missions representing the state abroad, and employees of such missions holding residence permits in the state.
f) Foreigners delegated by the public sector corporations to attend training or specialisation courses, or those working in their employers’ offices abroad, and their families holding valid residence permits in the state.
g) Servants of the members of the ruling family in the UAE, who are serving their houses abroad, and who are holding valid residence permits in the state.
h) Students studying in one of the universities or institutes abroad.”
However, it may be noted that your son may not qualify for any of the exceptions as cited hereinabove, and it may be presumed that his visa may have already been cancelled.
Therefore, considering these circumstances, your son may contact his employer in the UAE, regarding his current status and if such employer would like to continue the employment relationship with him. If the response is positive, then the employer may arrange for a fresh employment visa for your son. Otherwise, your son may re-enter the UAE on a visit visa.
Further, in view of your apprehensions, it may be advisable for you to engage a legal practitioner in the UAE, who may check with the competent authorities if there are any cases filed against your son, or if there are any impending issues regarding his entry to the UAE.
Know the law
The residence permit granted to a person shall be deemed cancelled if the period of his stay outside the country exceeds six months.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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