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Every business needs to follow certain fundamental immigration regulations and process for its conduct, execution, and delivery of services in the UAE. Immigration management has a significant role to ensure hassle free and successful operation in the region, however, this is often not given the importance it deserves. Although immigration regulations may seem straight forward in the UAE, there are some potential issues that the businesses keep facing on a regular basis, such as missing expiry, delay in on-boarding of new hires, not keeping track of changing immigration regulations, etc. 


Are you finding it challenging to run a jurisdictional immigration program? Have you or your department ever missed a major business opportunity due to evolving immigration regulations and process changes?


We shall further discuss some of the common immigration challenges faced on a frequent basis, and how businesses can navigate through these difficulties.


1. Missing employment residence permit expiry and being liable for overstay fines


Keeping track of the residence visa expiry for the employees is as equally important as procuring it. Lapses in renewing the residence visa or labour card within the grace period would attract overstay fines by the authorities. In addition, the employees would not be travel-ready for any urgent business requirements while the renewal of the visa still underway and thereby miss a business opportunity. Through placement of an adequate expiry tracking mechanism, businesses can guarantee timely reminder of upcoming expiry date of employee residence visas and plan travel accordingly.  The human resources team needs to ensure that their employees are holding a valid permit and labour card during their employment with the organization.


2. Not following required de-registration process:


Non-cancellation of visa during employee departure or improper immigration file closures bring in unnecessary government fines and penalties which imposes operational risk for the business. Some of the jurisdictions charge monetary penalty for non-cancellation of employee residence permit. Additionally, until the residence permits are cancelled, the quota is not freed by the freezone jurisdictions. With predefined processes and protocols, companies can ensure smooth exit of employees from the organization be it cancellation of visa during employee departure or proper closure of employee’s immigration file prior to the exit from the country.


For more information: 

UAE Residence Visa cancellation, Why is it important?


3. Sanctions due to expired corporate documents


The commercial license is renewed every year in the UAE. Often businesses face sanctions or penalty for the violation of not updating their profile as per regulatory requirements or due to expired and invalid corporate documents. Working with the Immigration authorities whether to file a new application or to resolve an incorrect one can at times be time consuming, complex, and overwhelming. Through assistance from a designated team of experienced professionals, PRO services team could gain access to various technological advancements including accessing timely immigration updates as well as managing expiry tracking and renewals promptly to reduce penalties.


Read blog:  

9 Essential company documents and pre-requisites


4. Facing sanctions on government/ employer’s online portal


Not complying with the process and documentary requirements can lead up to the blockage of online portals. Some of these include, non-renewal of corporate documents, late renewal of labour cards, not meeting Wage Protection System (WPS) requirements, non-submission of annual audit reports, etc. depending on the jurisdiction of operation. These issues would make the immigration process even more complex. Understanding the compliance requirements in advance is key to ensure the smooth operation of business in the UAE.


5. Lack of specialized human resources or tools to meet evolving immigration requirements


Even though UAE provides transparent regulations on immigration it can sometimes turn out to be challenging. The human resource or PRO services department might fail to cope with the changing employment immigration rules and regulations due to routine application filing functions. In an increasingly competitive business environment, it is highly important for the company to have a strategic business partner who is well informed about the recent process and regulatory changes. With a streamlined process for tracking immigration updates, rules, and regulations and by utilizing a robust immigration management platform, the PRO services can be efficiently managed. It also ensures not only an error free experience for the employees but also efficient management of immigration applications.


6. Delayed employee onboarding due to lack of eligibility and compliance assessment:


Effectively incorporating new employees can be a challenging task for the HR department. Failing to assess employee profile in line with immigration requirement can delay employee onboarding. Conducting a compliance assessment to understand various requirements including, legalization, job level, home country medical examination for certain nationalities, age, nationality restrictions, and Certificate Good Standing (CGC) is critical. Additionally, hidden problems such as previous ban or absconder status in immigration system or extensive security screening due to applicant's nationality, delay in the cancellation of the residence permit or labour card in prescribed manner by the previous employer can further delay the on-boarding process. The HR or PRO services teams should ensure adequate compliance checks and pre-assessments being done to rule out possible complications, and understand employee eligibility thereby avoid delays in processing work authorization.


Read blog: 

Employee Eligibility for UAE Employment Residence Visa


7. Unavailability of adequate work permit quota:


The business entity should have sufficient quota as approved by the relevant authorities, prior to submitting the work permit application. The process of obtaining quota varies from one jurisdiction to another and would depend on the nature of business, size of the office space, or legal structure of the entity. Lodgement of a new immigration application due to inadequate quota availability can be a hindrance on the way to a smooth immigration process. The businesses can work in advance with the immigration or PRO services teams to pre-plan the hires for the year against the available quota of the organization, ensure proper file closure for departing employees, and track availability of sufficient bank guarantee to meet the parameters of the multi-layered immigration scheme.


8. Failure to complete the labour-market tests:


Other crucial issues that the business face would be failure to complete the labour market tests in a timely manner. Depending on the jurisdiction of operation, the company needs to meet certain labour market test prior to hiring a foreign national. Understanding and managing the immigration dynamics is vital for meeting the onboarding timelines of the organization. The human resource and PRO services teams should discuss the hiring requirement well in advance to ensure that the labour market test requirements do not slow down employee onboarding and business activities.


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


Our services include:

Employment Residence Visas

Dependent Residence Visas

Emirates Id Cards

Corporate Documents Procurement/Renewal

Expiry Tracking and Renewal

De-registrations and Amendments

GCC Pension Registry Management

Document Procurement and Attestation Services

PRO Services

Benchmarking and Consultations

Compliance Management

Strategic Planning and Support




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Posted on 26-Sep-2020.

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