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Most often the question posed by business to the HR or recruitment team is how soon the prospective employee can join the company. Answer to this question may not be straight forward as there are multiple factors that would need to be considered in order to set the right expectation with the business as well as the employee.


One of the basic conditions for the employee to onboard is the procurement of the employment residence visa. The residence visa application procedures tend to vary from one category to another or even one jurisdiction to another. At the same time the work or residence visa submissions need to meet requirements defined by each of the jurisdictions. Therefore, it is important to have a holistic assessment before the joining date is communicated. Not meeting the specified eligibility criteria can delay the onboarding process and thereby create significant pressure on HR, business, as well as the employee. 


Following are some of the requirements and certain criteria that a prospective employee needs to fulfil in order to be eligible for the employment residence visa:


1. Passport: 

Passport with remaining validity of 6 months or more at the time of application submission. There should be adequate pages (at least 2) left for the stamping of the residence visa. 


Timeline: Between 2 weeks to 2 months for the renewal of passport depending on nationality.


2. Qualifications:

Foreign national should be able to provide the valid and legalized academic credentials as a part of work authorization requirement, depending on the profession or skill level on the application. The certificate must be attested through the UAE Embassy in the country of issuance. 


Timeline: Between 2-6 weeks for the attestation/legalization of the university certificate through various government departments all the way up to the UAE Embassy. 


3. Age:

To be eligible for the employment residence visa the foreign national should be between the age of 18 to 60. Although the retirement age is 65 in certain jurisdiction, there might be restrictions for those above 60 or 65.


Timeline: There could be an increase in the application processing lead time for applicants aged 60 and above, as there may also be a requirement for additional documentation or government fee in certain jurisdictions.


4. Immigration compliance:

 Foreign nationals with any previous immigration ban will be prohibited from getting a work/residence visa or entering the UAE. Having not cancelled previous files in the immigration system can delay the residence visa applications. Also, selecting the right category of application depending on employee’s current residence status would enhance onboarding procedures.


Timeline: Depends. Reviewing the residence or employment status of employee is key to understand the options and define the timeline thereby. 


5. Medical fitness: 

Foreign national should be free from communicable diseases. It is mandatory to attend medical examination conducted at designated UAE medical centers and obtain fitness certificate. Depending on the nationality and visa category foreign nationals might have to undergo a medical screening in their home country as well.


Timeline: Depends; 2-3 weeks to complete out of country medicals for defined nationality and get the entry permit issued through the UAE embassy. 


6. National policy and Security check: 

Foreign nationals should not be belonging to the nationality that UAE Immigration authorities have disallowed from entering UAE for national security reasons or national policy. Foreign national should also clear the security check and submit the biometric details to apply for the Emirates ID.


Timeline: Depends on immigration department requesting for additional documentation. 


Factors that can delay Employment Residence Visa application (from employee perspective)


There may be certain factors which can cause delays in the employment residence permit application for the employee. 


i. Not having the legalized or attested certificate required for the specific skill or job level as prescribed by the authorities.


ii. Not entering UAE within 60 days of the entry permit approval. 


iii. The requirement to do follow up medical for additional screening, for certain individuals. 


iv. Requirement to do home country medical before getting the entry permit approved through the UAE embassy in that country for certain nationalities. 


v. Having previous ban or absconder status in immigration system or extensive security screening due to applicant's nationality.


vi. Non cancellation of the residence permit or labour card in prescribed manner by the previous employer or in a timely manner.


Read Blog: Steps to Procuring UAE Free Zone Residence Visa


How can BM Strategies assist? 

Given the dynamic nature of the immigration environment, we at BM Strategies guide our clients on the best and most efficient options in developing, implementing, and managing compliant UAE immigration programs. Please reach out to us for more information on



Notes: The information provided here are only for the purpose of providing an overview regarding the UAE immigration processes. The immigration regulations are subject to change from time to time from one jurisdiction to another. The information provided hereby should not be considered an opinion or advice from BM Strategies but only a practical guide for general information.

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Posted on 01-May-2020.

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