Hiring can be a complex business for companies of all sizes. For startups it can often be a case of make or break. A well timed, successful hire can be the perfect springboard for growth while a bad hire can be an enormous burden for a business in its infancy.
Finding your ideal team member is only the first step. You must then ensure they hit the ground running and are bringing value to your business as quickly as possible. One common stumbling block to seamless recruitment here in the UAE is the visa application process. While the process is relatively straightforward, any incomplete or inaccurate applications can cause delays and even visa rejections – leaving your business and your new starter in limbo.
One common stumbling block to seamless recruitment here in the UAE is the visa application process.
To help you avoid this common pitfall, here’s our easy to follow 5-step checklist to overcoming the admin of taking on your first hire.
How to get a UAE visa for your first hire
Step 1: Register for E-Channel services
Registration for free zone businesses is incredibly easy: simply instruct your free zone agent or authorised typing centre to register your company for online services and pay the mandatory registration fee – AED 2,500 plus a refundable security deposit of AED 5,000 – and they will do the rest. If you’re a mainland company, you can register yourself via the E-Channel website. Once registered on the E-Channel portal, you’ll be able to apply for your new starter’s employee visa. The whole process, including payment, can be carried out online.
Step 2: Apply for the Entry Permit
The first step in obtaining a visa for your new hire is applying for an entry permit – also known as an employment visa. This temporary visa has a validity period of 60 days and is usually issued within 15 days of an online application. If you need an entry permit sooner than this, it is possible to fast-track your application for a fee of AED 1,000. The fast-track service takes 5-7 working days. You should advise your employee against leaving the UAE until his or her entry permit is issued as doing so can cause discrepancies in immigration records and may result in a delay. The entry permit is an electronic document and will be emailed to you once ready.
Step 3: Changing the status of the entry permit
Once you have received your new employee’s entry permit, it must be activated. This activation process is known as ‘status change’ and it is a step that must be undertaken by your new starter before immigration will issue a UAE visa. There are three ways to perform a status change – in-country, out of country, and the so-called ‘border run’. To ensure a smooth process, it is highly recommended that new starters opt for the in-country status change. Here, it is simply a case of submitting your new employee’s passport to immigration who will stamp and activate the employment visa. This process usually takes 3-5 days and costs just AED 750.
There are three ways to perform a status change – in-country, out of country, and the so-called ‘border run’.
Step 4: Undergoing medical testing and registering for Emirates ID
This stage of the visa application process requires your new hire to undergo medical testing. This is a very straightforward procedure consisting of blood tests for a number of infectious diseases and a chest x-ray. The whole process usually only takes a few hours and results are ready in days. Once the results are back, you can apply for your new hire’s Emirates ID card. Your new starter must visit an official ID authority to complete this stage of the application as certain biometric details (eye scan and fingerprints) must be captured. A three-year Emirates ID card costs just AED 370.
Step 5: Getting the residency stamp
The final stage of a successful employee visa application is residency stamping – this literally refers to the physical stamp or sticker that is placed in your new hire’s passport. To obtain the stamp, you must submit your new employee’s passport to the relevant immigration authority. The whole process takes just 15 days, during which time the passport holder is unable to leave the UAE. Once the passport is returned, the process is complete and your new starter is officially the holder of a full UAE visa.
New starter success – ensuring a smooth hiring process
Hiring a new starter can be a daunting task for a startup. Even with a comprehensive recruitment process there is still an element of stepping into the unknown when you take on an employee for the first time.
Even with a comprehensive recruitment process there is still an element of stepping into the unknown when you take on an employee for the first time.
Will they be the right fit? Is now the right time? Do you truly have enough business to cover their salary? There’s enough to worry about without getting bogged down in the bureaucracy of the visa application process.
While the red tape involved in the application process is necessary and not overly complex, a simple error or oversight could easily see your new starter’s visa delayed or rejected – which as well as leaving you under-resourced can also result in additional costs.
Working with a company formation specialist is the best way to overcome this potential administrative obstacle and ensure your visa application runs as smoothly as possible. A formation expert can manage the application process for you, ensuring it is complete and correct, and liaising with all relevant authorities on your behalf.
Setting up your own business has never been easier. Virtuzone takes care of it all so you can focus on what matters – building your business. For more information about company formation in the UAE mainland or free zones, please call us on +971 4 457 8200, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.