What is the change? The Ministry of Labour in Dubai is moving to paperless labor cards and employment contracts for purposes of work permit and residency visa applications.

What does the change mean? The change will significantly streamline processing and eliminate paper.

  • Implementation timeframe: The Ministry piloted the paperless process from July 1 to July 13 and officially launched paperless processing July 13.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits and residency visas.
  • Who is affected: Immigration applicants on Dubai mainland.
  • Impact on processing times: The e-cards and e-contracts will be issued within 48 hours of online application submissions.
  • Business impact: Faster processing and reduction of paper will save time and administrative hassles for employers.

Background: The Ministry of Labour announced paperless processing last year as part of its move toward “Smart Government,” an initiative to provide government services online throughout the UAE.

Starting July 13, the Ministry will replace plastic labor cards and paper employment contracts with electronically issued e-cards and e-contracts.

Foreign workers will be able to apply for initial work permit approval through the Ministry’s online portal, eNetwasal, and after arrival will apply online again for an e-card and e-contract that will be issued electronically and which workers can print out. The Ministry forwards electronic copies to the Emirates ID Authority and General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. The e-card and e-contract are required to obtain a residency visa or Emirates ID smart card.

BAL Analysis: The paperless processing improves processing times and allows various government offices to seamlessly integrate documentation for each step of the process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the United Arab Emirates. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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