What is the change? The United Arab Emirates has begun providing work authorization to male dependents of UAE residents.

What does the change mean? Men who are sponsored for residence by their wife, a parent or a child can now apply for work permits on the basis of their dependent status. This will help employers meet some of their workforce needs without recruiting outside of the country.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) began issuing work permits to male dependents in late July.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits for male dependents.
  • Who is affected: Male dependents of UAE residents, including spouses, parents and children over the age of 18.
  • Next steps: Applications can be submitted at any mainland MoHRE service center. While the visa has not officially launched in the free zones, it should be available at all MoHRE service centers by next month.

Background: Up until now, only female dependents meeting the age requirements and sponsored by their husbands or fathers were eligible to obtain work authorization as dependents. Work permits for male dependents are valid for two years, can be renewed for an additional two years, and are issued separately from the dependent’s residence permit. The fee for these work permits is AED 300.

Analysis & Comments: The change is good news for companies in the UAE. Companies will save on the cost of recruiting foreign workers and benefit from hiring foreign dependents as it is more costly to take on staff on work visas than to employ staff with work permits in the UAE.

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