It is a general assumption in UAE that employees, in contract with a particular employer, can not work on part-time / off-hours jobs. However, this is not entirely true.
If your job contract does not restrict you from working part-time or after usual office hours, there is no clause in the labour law that prohibits you from taking on part-time / freelance jobs.
Since 2010, the UAE’s Labour Law has provisions that allow an employee to opt for a part-time job along with a full-time one. If certain conditions are met, a person who is already employed by an entity may work for another employer – legally.
Part Time Work Permits in UAE
Employment relationships in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are generally regulated by the UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, Regulating Labour Relations, as amended (Labour Law) together with regulations promulgated under that law.
From January 2011, the Labour Ministry has introduced five new work permits, which are applicable in cases where an individual already has a residence visa (or, in the case of a UAE national, is entitled to reside in the UAE). These permits are for a work transfer, temporary work, part-time work, cases where individuals are sponsored by family members and juveniles.
One of the aims of the temporary work permit is to allow expatriates to obtain employment from another employer, pending the outcome of any ongoing litigation with their former employer (with whom they retain their visa). As with all permits, these are only issued upon the approval of the Ministry and therefore they are tightly controlled.
The part time work permit is valid for one year. This work permit can be issued to local, GCC and expatriate employees to work in another company on a part-time basis, which is less than eight hours and at the same time with their current work.
It is up to the employer to give the no objection certificate (NOC) to the employee. The applicant (18 years) on family sponsorship/ student (male and female more than 18 years) can also work on a part-time work permit with NOC from the sponsor. Such work permits can be issued to employee between 18 and 65 years of age.
The fee for part-time work permit includes an application fee of Dh100 and an approval fee of Dh500.
The employee must remain employed and sponsored by the first (full-time) employer who must consent in writing to the employee taking on a part-time job. An application for a part-time work permit should then be submitted to the Ministry of Labour by the second (part-time) employer together with supporting documents (including the first employer’s letter of consent) and payment of a fee which varies according the part-time employer’s status.
If both employers are registered with the Ministry of Labour, then, it is possible for an employee to be sponsored by one company but to also work part-time for another company, provided the Ministry of Labour issues a temporary work permit for the second employer. If the employers are registered with the Department of Immigration only and not with the Ministry of Labour, then there are also temporary work permits which can be obtained.
How to obtain a part-time Work Permit in UAE:
The part-time work permit applies to three categories of persons:
1. Resident workers in full-time employment holding a valid labour card
2. Residents aged 18 and above
3. Government employees
NOTE: Part-time Work permit is not issued for female employees.
• Those issued with a part-time work permit are not limited to the number of part-time jobs they can take up.
Period of Contract: one year. Contract starting and ending date must be mentioned.
Separate Labour Card and Contract will be issued for the part time job.
Part time Work Permit application: Dh153 (Pay at Tas’heel Centre)
Part time Labour Card: Dh553 (Pay at Tas’heel Centre)
Documents required for a part time work permit:
• Passport Copy
• One photo (white background)
• Labour Card Copy
• No Objection Letter (Arabic) from the current sponsor
• Trade License copy of both companies (if applicable)
• Labour Establishment Card copy both companies (if applicable)
• Passport copy of new sponsor
Steps to get a part time Work Permit:
Type the application, scan and submit through Tas’heel Centre. Location of Tas’heel centers can be checked at their website.
Students on university sponsorship can now legally work part-time upon receiving a permit from the Ministry of Labour under a new decree issued as part of the UAE Labour Law.
NOTE: Payment should be made through E-Dirham Card at Thas’heel Centre. You can Buy E-Dirham Card from any branch of National Bank of Abu Dhabi or from Aafaq Islamic Finance Company found at Thas’heel branches. Take your Emirates ID & Passport copy to for E-dirham Card.
Part Time Jobs or Freelancing?
Another important thing to consider here is the difference between part-time jobs and freelancing and both should be treated differently.
Freelancing is working for yourself, where you are essentially a company made up of one person, which is perfectly legal as long as you are licensed to do so. If you are a freelancer, then you will need to secure a Trade License pertaining to your business activity from your selected Licensing Authority, and adhere to their stipulations.