The majority of the population of the United Arab Emirates is made up of expatriates and studies have shown that UAE thrives due to its expat population who are spread in every industry and practically run the country. Without the expat crowd there would be no working class in UAE which would cripple the country. But the UAE law doesn’t grant citizenship to these expatriates even after they live in the country for a lifetime. Sometimes generations of a family live in UAE and still every two or three years they have to go through the tiresome procedures of renewal of their visa. One of the most common issue which is experienced by most expats is to bring their family to the UAE and thus this article deals with the criteria that one needs to fulfill to sponsor his or her own family to live in UAE.
The very first question that occurs for sponsoring one’s family is who can one sponsor under the scope of ‘family’. The Resolution of the Cabinet (9) of 1995 Regulating Expatriates Bringing their Families and Servants (hereinafter referred to as ‘the law’) has provided the definition of a family to include the wife of the person intending to sponsor his family, his male children who are under the age of 18 and his female children who are not married. Further it should be noted that if any of these children are pursuing in the universities or higher institutes in the country then in that case they are excluded from the scope of family who may be sponsored. These children are provided with a visa by the university or the higher institute from where they are pursuing their education.
The only criterion that has to be fulfilled to sponsor one’s family is the criteria of salary. The salary of the expat intending to sponsor his family must be a minimum of Three Thousand Dirhams (AED 3000) with a provision for accommodation by the employer or in case accommodation is not provided by the employer then the salary requirement is increased to Four Thousand Dirhams (AED 4000). The salary is to be proved by a formal certificate approved by the concerned bodies in the State.
Parents of an expat are not included within the scope of ‘family’ defined under the law but that doesn’t mean they cannot be sponsored by the expat. Though the provisions of the law are silent about sponsoring one’s parents, the UAE government does allow the sponsoring of the parents.
The salary requirement for sponsoring one’s parents is increased from the salary requirement which was set for sponsoring the family. For sponsoring one’s parent, the minimum salary must be of the amount of Six Thousand Dirhams (AED 6000) with accommodation provided by the employer and in the employer does not provide for the accommodation, the salary requirement is increased to an amount of a minimum of Seven Thousand Dirhams (AED 7000). The visa acquired this way for one’s parents is only valid for a year and needs to be renewed every year unlike the family visa which needs to be renewed every three years.
Also the documents required for sponsoring parents are much more than those required for sponsoring your ‘family’. The documents include a Certificate by the relevant authorities evidencing that you are the sole person your parents are dependent on. The procedure of sponsoring your parents is much more complicated, time consuming and the resultant expenses are also high. Also, in case you wish to sponsor only one parent, especially only your mother, the procedures get even more complicated and tiresome. The UAE government needs to amend its law and include parents within the scope of ‘family’ after all Islam advocates for the children to live with and take care of their parents as the foremost duty and responsibility.
The UAE is taking major steps in providing equal opportunities to women but when it comes to sponsoring the family, only the women working in the rare or important specializations such as medicine, engineering and teaching and the like, of which the State is in direct need of, are considered to be equal to men. Apart from these women, none are allowed to sponsor their family even when they earn much more than the salary requirements specified by the law.
There are some exceptions created in the salary clause for the sponsoring one’s family. Teachers, Imam of mosques and preachers and Drivers of buses used to transport students of schools, universities and other scientific institutes are the three categories of people who may sponsor their family even when they earn less than the required Four Thousand Dirhams (AED 4000) without accommodation or Three Thousand Dirhams (AED 3000) with accommodation.
And there are some categories of people who are not allowed to sponsor their families even after fulfilling all the salary criteria. They are the housekeepers and people working in similar positions and the workers and all the people who come within the category of workers or a similar category. The law therefore is very vague as to who are included in this category. This categorization by the law seems to create an inequality between these classes of people and therefore must be amended.
Apart from family, a person (a man or woman if she fulfills the criteria discussed above) may also sponsor a male or female servant, if the said person earns a monthly salary of not less than Six Thousand Dirhams (AED 6000). The male or female servant so sponsored is to be paid a monthly salary of not less than Four Hundred Dirhams (AED 400) and an amount equivalent to the servant’s annual salary is also to be paid to the treasury of the State.
For legal advice regarding the subject, please call +971 4 4221944, or call 800-LAWYER (529937).