Because it is such a dynamic city, Dubai attracts many foreign workers. However, the rules in force in the United Arab Emirates are strict. Many companies are turning to wage portage as a way to get around these administrative hurdles. 

What are the conditions for working on a wage portage basis in Dubai?

Working conditions in Dubai

The best way to work in Dubai is to apply to a company that has a presence in Dubai or is planning to open a subsidiary there. Along with the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Dubai is home to most of the American technology companies that recruit sales staff. Alternatively, platforms such as Jobs in Dubai, Monster Gulf and Career Jet publish numerous job offers. In both cases, the positions being offered involve high levels of responsibility or require highly specialized expertise.

Low-skilled jobs, particularly in construction and personal services, are usually filled by immigrants from Egypt, India and Pakistan, who often work in hazardous conditions.

Other workers, however, must be paid a minimum monthly salary of 3,000 dirhams (AED) if they do not have a high school diploma, 4,000 AED for high school graduates and 5,000 AED for holders of a higher education degree. Overtime must be paid, and work on Fridays, the weekly day of rest, entitles employees to a day off as compensation, or at least 50% extra pay.

The law guarantees other social rights for workers:

  • Full pay on official national holidays;
  • Annual paid leave at full salary, the number of days depends on the employee’s length of service with the company (generally 30 days per year);
  • Forty-five days’ paid maternity leave for women who have at least one year’s seniority in the company, otherwise maternity leave pay is reduced by half.
  • Five days’ paternity leave for men, is to be taken within six months of the child’s birth.

A « continental » work visa is required to work in one of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. There is also a specific visa for the free-trade zone, which restricts employees from working in these areas. The visa sponsorship application must be accompanied by a job offer and a written employment contract, in English and Arabic, detailing the employee’s conditions of payment in United Arab Emirates dirhams (AED), as well as the conditions of dismissal. Failure to obtain a visa, however, may result in the expulsion of workers and the blacklisting of both the workers and the company employing them, with a ban on doing business in the UAE.

The local company is responsible for taking the necessary steps after hiring a foreign employee by setting the duration of the expatriation to Dubai, in advance. Fluency in English is essential and being able to speak Arabic is an asset.

In terms of cost of living, Dubai is an expensive city compared, for example, to Abu Dhabi and Doha. Workers must also prepare themselves psychologically to follow different rules due to the culture and the region, not to mention the desert climate, which Europeans are not accustomed to.

Hiring or wage portage in the UAE

To avoid the administrative complexities involved in hiring foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates, a simple solution for companies is to turn to a wage portage company or a human resources outsourcing specialist with local offices. This option avoids the need to set up local branches or subsidiaries. This partner is registered and has a specific permit authorizing it to supply labor to client companies.

With wage portage, companies can avoid complicated administrative procedures, as well as long and costly recruitment processes. Companies call on ported workers only when they need them and when they don’t have the required skills in-house, thus keeping their costs under control.

And ported employees benefit from the combination of autonomy and comprehensive social protection. They can work in France for Emirates companies, or establish themselves in Dubai as part of a portage company based in France, with all the social benefits that French employees have.