Out of work? Here are six things to do after you're laid off as an expat in the UAE
11 October 2021| Last updated on 31 October 2021
Getting fired in the UAE can either be a blessing in disguise, or a stressful turn of events that can feel devastating.
You lose your job, you lose a steady salary, and for expats who are sponsored by their company - you will lose your UAE residency and work visa. If you don't have any job offers lined up yet, that means you have a ticking clock counting down until your last legal day of stay in the country.
So what should you do after being fired in Dubai and the UAE? While you may feel that your future is uncertain, don't panic as getting fired is not the end of your career.
Here are some things to consider if you get fired in the UAE.
1. Don't burn bridges with your old company
Try to exit your work with a stiff upper lip and gratitude for the experience, so you can enter better opportunities without any bad history. How you leave can affect your future career success down the line.
Avoid creating a scene or go around visiting your colleagues' desks to announce that you've been fired. You must also avoid badmouthing your former boss and fellow employees.
Keep it discreet and simply inform your closest work friends through a text or call.
2. Know your rights in the UAE
Although you're not leaving the company under the best circumstances, as an expat worker in the UAE you must be aware of your legal rights after getting fired.
The reason for your termination at work.
Generally, a former employer in the UAE is not obliged to give you the reason why you have been fired. Currently, there is no UAE law that makes this a requirement.
However, depending on your employment contract, a reason for getting fired from your job in Dubai might require one.
End of service or gratuity payment in the UAE.
Once an employment contract in the UAE ends, the employee is eligible for end of service or gratuity benefits. The sum will depend on whether you've resigned from your job or were dismissed.
These inclusions are subject to change based on the type of contract you were employed under.
Unfair dismissal in the UAE.
If you believe that you were terminated unfairly in the UAE and were forced to resign without any justifiable reasons, you can raise a case to the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
According to Article 122 of the UAE Labour Law, arbitrary termination or the unfair dismissal of an employee is counted when an employee is fired for:
- Reasons that are not related to work performance.
- Or, when an employee files a valid complaint against an employer, which made the employer terminate him or her maliciously.
According to Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law, termination without notice is lawful if it falls under any of these categories:
- If the worker uses a false identity, nationality, or submits forged certificates/documents.
- If the worker is engaged on probation and is dismissed during the probationary or on its expiry.
- If the worker makes a mistake resulting in substantial material loss for the employer, on condition that the employer notifies the UAE Ministry of Labour of the incident within 48 hours of his becoming aware of its occurrence.
- If the worker disobeys instructions respecting industrial safety or the safety of the workplace, if such instructions are in writing and have been posted up in a public place.
- If the worker does not perform his or her basic duties under the contract of employment and persists in violating them, despite the fact that s/he has been the subject of a written investigation for this reason and that he has been warned that he will be dismissed if such behavior continues.
- If the worker reveals any secret of the establishment in which s/he is employed.
- If the worker is finally sentenced by a competent court for an offence involving honour, honesty or public morals.
- If the worker is found in a state of drunkenness or under the influence of a drug during working hours.
- If, while working, the worker assaults the employer, the responsible manager or any of his work mates.
- If the worker absents from his work without a valid reason for more than 20 non-consecutive days, or more than seven consecutive days, in any one year.
If you are fired or terminated under any of the reasons listed above for UAE Labour Law article 120, you will receive no end of service benefits except for the paid salary until your last working day.
As per Article 123 of the UAE Labour Law, if the arbitrary termination is proven against the employer, then the UAE court will order the employer to pay monetary compensation to the former employee.
"The court will assess the value of compensation by taking into account the type of work, the extent of damage incurred to the employee and the duration of the employment. In all cases, the amount of compensation must not exceed the wage of the employee for a period of three months, calculated on the basis of the last wage the worker is entitled to," states the UAE's Government portal.
In addition to court-ordered compensation, the employee can claim his or her end of service gratuity payment, notice period dues or any other unpaid dues they're entitled to from the employer.
3. Budget your finances
We've compiled 10 money and budgeting tips to consider if you lose your job in the UAE. Read them here!
4. Don't be afraid to ask questions
After you receive a notice of your termination, a good question to genuinely ask your HR manager or former boss is, "Why was I fired?"
As painful or shameful it may feel to have your employer describe your shortcomings that led to your job loss, ultimately, learning about what went wrong and what work-related flaws you have (everyone has them!) will help you grow in your next position. You can see where there is room for change or self-growth.
Another question you can ask your employer is if he or she is willing to write a recommendation to help you on your journey to find a new job.
Be sure to find out the final day of your work visa's validity, how much time how you have left in your grace period to stay in the UAE, and if there is anything else the company expects from you before you leave.
5. Start sprucing up your CV
Start brushing up your CV with the details from your most recent job. Take some time to sit down with your CV to really make it shine.
6. Start looking for a new job
The obvious move to take after you lose your job in the UAE is to start searching for a new position. As expats in the UAE on employment visas, losing our job kicks off the count down to our last day of stay in the country.
If you're looking to find other work in the Emirates, there are plenty of websites in the UAE listing job vacancies. Try to reach out to your professional network to scout for any potential work opportunities. Set job alerts, have faith in yourself, iron your best interview outfits, and prep for future interviews.
We also have a dedicated page on the latest job vacancies for expat women, HERE.
Don't be discouraged, your next job in the UAE may just be a click away!