Probationary or temporary work permit and Dubai visit visa

Visit visas, work permits, residency visas Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE etc. Can I work on a visit visa? Who pays for my work permit? How long is my tourist visa valid for? More ...
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Probationary or temporary work permit and Dubai visit visa

Postby abzguy » 24 Dec 2014, 06:54

Hi Guys,

I am the director of a company based in the UK and regular visitor to Dubai, so I have a handle on how challenging things can be from a rules point of view, (had to get visas for my Polish wife a few times etc) but need anyone's help please.

We have just won a contract to install some specialist AV kit in a retail store in Dubai and it is from a US based company. It's going to take 3-4 of us 7 days to complete mid January. What are the issues of us doing this on a visit visa? I am desperately trying to keep everything above board but finding the correct info is a nightmare. I obviously cannot get the company we are working for to be our sponsor as they are not UAE based? I understand about the probationary work permit but everything online points to this being a stop gap for something more permanent. Help. Thanks in advance. Scott
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Re: Overseas consultants working in Dubai

Postby shawarma » 24 Dec 2014, 12:52

This sounds like one of those situations where most of the time people just do something on a visit visa and get away with it. It can't be a unique situation - visiting consultants, sports professionals, concert performers, conference attendees, are all doing a similar thing in principle. So presumably there is a way to do this legally. It's not something I've ever really thought about before ... but I'll start now and see how far I get ...

There was a story about an Israeli tennis player a few years ago being denied an entry visa for the Dubai tennis championship. From memory, Dubai was fined and required to guarantee a visit visa for her next time. My point being that it's an example of someone very publicly "working" in the UAE on a visit visa. Unless I got it wrong about the type of visa.

I presume concert performers and their entourage either get some sort of temporary work visa, or a visit visa without the Ministry of Labour getting wound up about it. Possibly wasta comes into it.

If you and your colleagues are employed by an overseas company to fulfill a contract in Dubai but your payment is made overseas, then that might reduce the chance of any issues, although I realise I still haven't answered your question.

Companies can sponsor visitors for a visit visa for business purposes. This is presumably to allow overseas residents to come to the UAE and visit companies, sell things to companies, do consultancy work for companies, and perhaps install specialist AV kit for companies. Perhaps try investigating that option with the company you are doing the contract for. If they tell you don't worry about it just get a visit visa on entry, contact the DNRD (Dubai Immigration) directly and ask them if a visit visa on entry permits you to visit the UAE for business purposes. Sometimes they are helpful (either phone or email).

As far as I know, a temporary work permit is intended for those coming to live and work in the UAE for a short period of time (but months rather than days). It sounds like you are "visiting" the UAE to do a job, rather than intending to "live" in the UAE for a short period of time.

http://www.dubaifaqs.com/dnrd.php
http://www.dubaifaqs.com/visa-mission-dubai.php
http://www.dubaifaqs.com/israeli-stamp-passport-dubai.php
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Re: Visit visa for business purposes to Dubai

Postby shawarma » 24 Dec 2014, 13:11

I found something that might help you on one of the UAE Embassy websites (Stockholm). They all probably say something similar. Or try the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website, or the UAE Immigration website (Dubai or Abu Dhabi probably more up to date than other emirates).

UAE Embassy wrote:Passport holders of the countries listed below do not require a prior visa in order to enter the United Arab Emirates for business or tourist visits lasting 30 days.

Country list is the ones for nationalities which can get a visa on arrival. Note that it says business or tourist visits.

http://www.dubaifaqs.com/visa-arrival-dubai-free-nationalities.php

Also, from the same source, regarding 30 and 90 day visit visas (Short Visit Visa, Long Visit Visa):

UAE Embassy wrote:Except for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council who do not require a visa and nationalities automatically entitled to visit visas on entry, all other visitors who wish to stay longer than 14 days in the UAE must obtain a visit visa in advance through a sponsor. The sponsor can be your travel agency, your hotel, the company or department with which you are doing business in the UAE, or an individual (e.g. a relative or friend resident in the UAE).

I would understand that to say a visit visa allows you to do business with the company which sponsors you.

http://www.dubaifaqs.com/visit-visa-dubai.php

So at the end of all that, it sounds to me like a visit visa allows you to do business with companies in the UAE. I expect it would help if you can demonstrate you are employed by a company outside the UAE, and you are not paid in the UAE for any "business" activities carried out in the UAE.

I feel like either I've misunderstood something in your original post, or I've taken a long time to figure out something obvious ...
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Re: Dubai company sponsoring visit visa

Postby shawarma » 24 Dec 2014, 13:22

abzguy wrote:I obviously cannot get the company we are working for to be our sponsor as they are not UAE based?

I missed this bit first time I read your post.

Then how about the company for which the kit is being installed? If the installers are not from one of the free entry visa countries.
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Re: UK passport holder visit visa for business

Postby abzguy » 24 Dec 2014, 14:20

Thanks shawarma, appreciate the advice. We are all UK citizens and passport holders and as I mentioned turning up and getting a visit visa at the airport is obv no problem. Just curious about when we get asked at customs what we are here for?

I guess visiting friends is the best answer?

I did wonder what tennis stars, formula one personnel etc did to get round this.

Ultimately the shop that the kit is being installed in has a sponsor family behind everything but there is a lot of politics involved in approaching them as it seems to be not ideal a UK company are doing these works as opposed to a UAE business, therefore nobody wants to "lose face" by being seen to have to ask. Crazy I know but that's the US companies for ya!

It always amazes me how complicated and "loose" all these regulations are. It's like no matter what you do, you might still get screwed over. :-/

S
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Re: UK passport holder visit visa for business

Postby shawarma » 24 Dec 2014, 17:20

abzguy wrote:when we get asked at customs what we are here for?

Visiting friends sounds safe ... unless they then ask you for names and telephone numbers (unlikely but if you're going to make up a story, be prepared for it to be followed through). Might be less complicated to leave out the friends part and say you're visiting for sun and shopping. Then they'll only ask where you're staying, if they ask anything.

Or say your employer sent you here for business meetings to consult with some clients regarding product familiarization, and assistance with installation and operational requirements. There must be planeloads of visitors arriving in Dubai every day doing that sort of thing.

And for a nitpicking sidebar: Customs won't ask you why you're here, they're interested in what you're bringing. Immigration and passport control officials are the ones who might ask you the reason for your visit.
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