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Everything You Need To Know About Absconding In The UAE

Apr 6, 2024 | Legal

Absconding in the UAE is a serious offence that can have significant legal consequences for both employees and employers. This term refers to the act of workers leaving their jobs or residences without notification, often leading to breaches of immigration and labour regulations. The UAE’s strict legal framework, including the UAE Labour Law and various ministerial resolutions, aim to address and discourage such practices by outlining strict penalties for those who abscond.

From employment bans to fines and potential deportation, the ramifications of absconding are severe and multifaceted. Understanding the intricacies of these regulations is crucial for expatriates and businesses operating in the UAE. We’re here to cover the following for you:

  • An in-depth look at the legal implications.
  • The role of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).
  • Effective strategies for the prevention and resolution of absconding cases.

What Is Absconding in The UAE

Definition of Absconding

In the UAE, absconding occurs when a foreign national who’s in the country on a visa or residency permit or employed in the UAE suddenly leaves their job or place of residence without telling their employer or landlord. This action is often linked to unauthorised or illegal activities related to immigration or employment status.

UAE Laws on Absconding

The UAE enforces strict laws on absconding. Federal Law Number 8 of 1980, known as the UAE Labour Law, along with Ministerial Resolution No. (721) for 2006 sets out the legal framework and procedures for dealing with absconding cases. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) is in charge of ensuring that these laws are followed and that labour rights are protected.

Employers must provide proof of an employee’s absconding and report such cases to immigration authorities within three months for the MoHRE to act. If you’re found to have absconded, you could face serious consequences, including the cancellation of your work permit and potential employment bans.

Reasons Why Employees Abscond

Employees might abscond for various reasons, such as overstaying their visa, leaving a job without notice, running away from a sponsor, or doing work that’s not allowed under their visa terms. Some might leave because of disputes with employers or to chase better opportunities.

Others might abscond to dodge legal consequences for actions that break their visa conditions.

Statistics on Absconding Cases in the UAE

While exact numbers of absconding cases in the UAE aren’t easy to come by, it’s clear that the relevant authorities here treat such violations with the utmost seriousness. The fallout from absconding can be harsh and include deportation, travel bans, fines, and legal troubles. These outcomes can also affect sponsors and employers.

The harshness of the penalties often hinges on your specific situation, the kind of residency visa you have, and the nature of your violation. It’s crucial for residents to be familiar with the laws and terms of their visas or residency permits to avoid being labelled as absconding.

Screenshot Of MoHRE Website

Legal Implications for Absconding

Consequences for Employees

The repercussions are severe for expatriate workers who leave their employment without settling their contractual obligations. Such individuals may find themselves barred from future employment within the nation.

The duration of this prohibition varies and can significantly impact one’s professional future. Additionally, financial repercussions may be imposed for not adhering to the contractual notice period, potentially requiring compensation to the employer for this breach.

Outstanding debts or legal responsibilities must also be resolved before departure is permitted.

Consequences for Employers

When a worker absconds, employers must substantiate their claim to MoHRE. They must provide evidence, such as the employment contract and any correspondence related to the incident. Employers are prohibited from withholding personal documents from employees, and workers can seek legal recourse to retrieve such items.

The Role of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE)

MoHRE plays a pivotal role in adjudicating absconding claims. Upon receiving a report, the ministry conducts an inquiry to ascertain its validity. If substantiated, MoHRE may impose a ban.

The ministry also facilitates mediation between the parties, which can sometimes resolve the issue amicably. Prompt communication with the employer can be critical in clarifying misunderstandings or emergencies.

Resolving Absconding Cases Legally

Navigating the complexities of resolving an absconding case often necessitates legal counsel, particularly for those seeking to return to the UAE or have a ban revoked. Legal experts familiar with UAE labour legislation can provide invaluable assistance.

Mediation or negotiation may conclude the matter positively, and maintaining a record of discussions with the employer can serve as evidence of one’s intentions. Before attempting to re-enter the UAE with unresolved absconding allegations, seeking legal or professional guidance is advisable. Misconceptions about the ease of rectifying absconding without legal intervention can lead to further complications.

Consulting with reputable law firms and seasoned legal advisors is essential for individuals involved in absconding incidents.

Absconding and the Residency Law

Visa Violations and Penalties

Committing this act can lead to substantial fines and other legal repercussions, including criminal charges. Adhering to the terms of your visa or residency permit is crucial to avoid these penalties.

Impact on Future Employment in the UAE

Those who commit this act may have their visa cancelled and encounter obstacles in obtaining future employment within the country. A record of the incident can result in a re-entry ban, the duration of which depends on the specific case. To work again in the UAE, one must clear up the issue and secure the appropriate authorisations.

Deportation Proceedings and Bans

Deportation is a serious consequence, entailing removal from the country and imposition of travel bans, which can restrict your ability to leave or re-enter until the situation is rectified. Sponsors and employers are also obligated to report such cases or face legal consequences themselves.

Legal Pathways for Visa Rectification

The UAE government has established mechanisms for individuals to rectify their visa status. The amnesty program allows those who have overstayed visit visas to regularise their status or depart without incurring penalties. However, this excludes individuals who are blacklisted or facing legal action.

For those desiring to remain, adjusting and regularising visa statuses is possible, though this may incur additional charges. Individuals who entered the UAE illegally can opt to leave voluntarily with a valid return air ticket, receiving a “NO ENTRY” stamp on their passport. This initiative, available for a limited time, was part of the UAE’s efforts to provide a lawful exit strategy for expatriates staying illegally under the initiative “Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status” initiative.

Screenshot Of MoHRE Website

How Businesses Can Handle Absconding Employees

Preventative Measures and Policies

Companies can implement preventative strategies to mitigate the risk of employees absconding. Establishing comprehensive employment contracts that clearly delineate mutual expectations is essential. Engaging in consistent dialogue and conducting regular employee satisfaction assessments can preempt potential issues.

Enhancing employee engagement through competitive remuneration and benefits and providing robust training and support can foster a more committed workforce. Understanding the motivations for absconding enables employers to customise their retention approaches.

Managing Absconding Reports

In the event of an employee absconding without incident, employers must adhere to the stipulated procedures. This involves issuing a formal notification to the absent employee and allowing a specified period for them to resume their duties. It is mandatory to inform MoHRE of such cases.

Employers are entitled to retain end-of-service entitlements pending resolution. If an agency facilitated the recruitment, there may be recourse for recovering losses stemming from the absconding event.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Navigating the intricacies of an absconding case may necessitate expert legal guidance. Firms specialising in legal matters can assist with labour contracts and the appropriate steps for managing an absconding employee’s termination. They can also clarify the employer’s legal rights and responsibilities and report other involved parties.

Given the potential for severe penalties, including incarceration, it is critical to approach these situations with diligence.

Employee Rehabilitation and Retention Strategies

Should an absconding employee express a willingness to rejoin the workforce, considering rehabilitation and retention measures may be beneficial? This process involves understanding the factors that led to the incident and striving to resolve them. It presents an opportunity to reassess company policies to avert similar situations in the future.

Cultivating a supportive work environment where employees’ contributions are acknowledged can enhance their commitment and reduce the likelihood of future absconding.

Navigating Absconding Challenges

Absconding remains a critical concern for both employees and employers in the UAE labour landscape. Understanding the gravity of such actions, their consequences, and the legal measures in place is paramount.

As we’ve explored, the repercussions of absconding extend beyond immediate penalties, potentially affecting long-term residency and employment prospects. Timely, informed responses and adherence to the UAE’s legislative framework are essential for resolving absconding disputes effectively.

For employees, it’s about remaining vigilant and compliant with visa obligations. On the other hand, employers must balance enforcement with engagement strategies to minimise risks.

Whether you’re an employee fearing wrongful accusation or an employer dealing with an absconder of unpaid salary, robust legal support is your ally in navigating these intricate matters. The key is to act promptly and judiciously to uphold the integrity of the employment landscape in the UAE.

FAQs

How Long Does Absconding Last In The UAE?

The duration of a ban for absconding varies based on the circumstances of the departure. Typically, if an individual leaves their job without a justified and valid reason before the end of their contract, they may face a one-year prohibition on obtaining a new work permit from the date of their last attendance. During this period, it is unlawful for any employer to hire or retain the individual if they are aware of the absconding report.

While bans are not indefinite, repeated offences could lead to a permanent exclusion from the country.

Can I Return To The Uae After Absconding?

Re-entry into the UAE after being flagged for absconding hinges on resolving the issue and the nature of the imposed ban. Re-entry and employment are not possible while the ban is active. However, if the absconding report is proven to be erroneous and the fake absconding report is retracted by the employer or dismissed by MoHRE, the individual may have the opportunity to return.

It is crucial to address any absconding allegations prior to attempting re-entry into the UAE.

How Much Is Absconding Fine In Uae?

The initial penalty for filing an absconding report is $545. This amount may increase incrementally if the case needs to be promptly addressed. To avoid accruing higher fines, monitoring visa status and addressing any absconding reports is advisable without delay.

What Are The Types Of Absconding In Uae?

Several categories of visa-related bans are associated with absconding, including one-year bans, two-year bans, six-month bans, immigration bans, labour bans, and permanent residency bans. A labour ban is initiated when an employer files an absconding report, which requires evidence of the employee’s absence from work and confirmation of their presence within the UAE.

Can You Exit Uae With An Absconding Case?

Exiting the UAE while an absconding case is pending is generally permitted once the matter is resolved. Visitors who overstay their visa and fail to depart within consecutive days of a grace period may face consequences for absconding.

Such situations could result in being blacklisted, preventing re-entry into the UAE or travel to other Gulf Cooperation Council nations. To avoid complications during departure or future travel to the region, it is recommended that any absconding issues be resolved beforehand.

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