A strong brand, great products, business acumen.
These are key factors in UAE startup success, but it’s the quality of your employees that is the glue holding it all together. So it’s essential to ensure that your company has its employee visa application process running smoothly.
While the visa system in Dubai and across the UAE can be a daunting prospect for entrepreneurs, the steps below will guide you through the key processes and show why working with business setup specialists takes away all the headaches.
Step 1: Approval from the Ministry of Labour
In order to kickstart your employee’s visa application, you must complete the relevant documents and take them to the Ministry of Labour. A setup expert can help you with the form filling to avoid stressful delays.
It’s essential to understand that free zone companies have a quota restriction on work visas which typically works out as one foreign employee for each 12.5 square metres of office space. If you employ over 100 people, there may also be a cap on the number of new visas available for some positions. An advisor can help you apply for a quota upgrade if necessary.
It’s essential to understand that free zone companies have a quota restriction on work visas which typically works out as one foreign employee for each 12.5 square metres of office space.
Working with a company formation specialist will ensure that your office space and company logistics are aligned with your visa needs.
Seeking expert help will also enable you to understand your visa situation, particularly given that work and residence visa laws continue to evolve in the UAE. For example, the new residency visa rules that came into force in 2018 have changed the landscape for some professionals. Those in the medicine, science, research, engineering, and technical fields, can now apply for visas lasting up to 10 years.
This means the UAE has an edge over other GCC countries when it comes to attracting top talent. A business setup expert can help you take advantage of this talent pool, working through visa options, and ensuring you are able to offer prospective employees the best incentives.
Steps 2-4: Obtain UAE entrance, labour card, and Emirates ID
Once you have approval for one or more visa applications, the government issues an entry permit, allowing your employee to legally enter the UAE.
Following your employee’s arrival, your company formation agent can apply for your employee’s labour card. The employee then needs to go to the Emirates ID service centre after receiving the relevant form typed up at any typing centre.
The dynamic nature of the UAE’s economy means it’s vital to stay up-to-date with changes in legislation to ensure you follow the correct visa procedures.
The dynamic nature of the UAE’s economy means it’s vital to stay up to date with changes in legislation to ensure you follow the correct visa procedures.
Steps 5-7: Medical testing, document approval, and visa stamping
Once your employee has been to the Emirates ID service centre, the next step is having a medical test done in a designated government hospital.
The approved documents can then be taken to the Department of Naturalization and Residency Dubai (DNRD). Finally, the applicant’s visa is stamped, enabling them to legally work for your company.
Thousands of startups and SMEs across the UAE outsource their visa processing to a company formation specialist – either as a standalone service, or as part of a full setup package.
There are three key reasons to outsource your employee visa applications:
Reason 1: Visa processing drains your resources. If you or a colleague has to divert time towards handling visas, then there is less time and energy to put towards other key areas of your business.
Reason 2: Visa processing can create delays. A typical employee visa may take around 40 days from start to finish. That’s already quite a long time for startups and SMEs who need to build their resources efficiently. Since tiny errors in visa applications are notorious for costing startups time, stress, and money, using a specialist can be an astute move. The digitalisation of the visa acquisition is making things simpler, but a small error will lead to rejection.
Since tiny errors in visa applications are notorious for costing startups time, stress and money, using a specialist can be an astute move.
Reason 3: Visa processing regulations are always changing. Unless you have a complete understanding of visa rules across different parts of the UAE, this may not be easy on your own. Without expert guidance, it’s easy to become stressed about the legislations and laws associated with different administrative regions. Well-established business startup specialists will also have excellent contacts within government agencies, helping to smooth your visa applications.
If you are planning on creating a startup in the UAE, then the benefits and lifestyle on offer make it one of the best places in the world to do business. But the thought of handling visas is never exciting, and unless you already have a very efficient HR team – it’s a task that can make building your company stressful.
Using a startup specialist is the simple way to deal with all your visa needs and ensure you can fully focus your skill and energy directly on your business.
About The Author: Rajesh Ambikan, Director Of Worldwide Formations.
Rajesh Ambikan is the Director of Worldwide Formations, which started with the aim to bring straightforward, no-hassle company formation services to the UAE. Prior to Worldwide Formations, Rajesh amassed many years of experience in UAE company incorporation, having worked as Head of Free Zones and Offshore Operation for Wenham Major, one of the UAE’s oldest and most prestigious accountancy firms. Rajesh also has vast experience of the corporate sector in the UAE, having held C-suite roles for companies in Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah, Fujairah, and Dubai.