How to apply for an expat work permit in Dubai?

Before working in Dubai as an expatriate, it’s important to have the right permits in place for lawful employment. In most cases, expatriates will have confirmed employment in the emirate before relocating to the region. Your employer will handle much of the complex visa process directly.
Your new employer can apply for a work permit once you have accepted the role and signed the employment contract. They will need to contact the Ministry of Labor to get permission to employ you as a foreign worker. In advance of your arrival in the emirate, you will receive a work entry permit valid for 60 days. Once you have entered the country, your employer will have to start the formal process for a work visa.
To work long-term in Dubai, you will need to have an Emirates ID card, a Labor Card (work permit) and a stamped work visa in your passport. It is imperative to formalise this within 60 days of moving to Dubai.

Becoming a resident

Your new employer should arrange your residency visa on your behalf as your sponsor for entering the country. As well as enabling you to receive a work permit, a permanent residence visa is the first step in being able to open a bank account, get a driving licence or register a car. The residency permit is valid for three years, when you will need to renew it.
Your employer will complete the application process, but may require you to supply some documentation. This is likely to include passport-sized photographs, a copy of your passport and your work entry permit. The employer will need to provide their commercial licence and valid company card, a completed application form and the relevant fee.
You are also required to undergo a compulsory health screening as part of the residency application, performed at a government-approved health centre. You may be able to have this medical test in the UK before your relocation.
You will need to apply for an Emirates ID card, which is an important form of identification. For this, you will need your passport and work entry permit.
Your employer applies to the immigration authorities for your permanent residence visa. Once you have your own residency permit, you can sponsor your partner or any children to join you in the country.

Working legally

Once you are a legal resident, your employer can go on to handle the formal process for getting your work visa. All the forms and documents need to be written and processed in Arabic. Your employment contract will also need to be written in Arabic.
Work permits are issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and your employer will apply directly to this governmental department. You may be asked to provide evidence of any relevant qualifications. Your new employer will usually meet all costs incurred in the application of your residency and work permits.
In some cases, if you have a degree necessary for your role, you may need to get it certified at the UAE Embassy in the UK before relocating. Those working in medical professions, such as physicians or lab technicians, will need to undertake an exam from the Ministry of Health and Prevention before being able to practice in the UAE.
While your employer will manage the process of applying for a work permit, you should check that everything is in place. If a work permit is not issued correctly, both employer and employee could be fined.
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