Wednesday 14 January 2015

What do I need to apply for work and residency visas in Dubai?

Sorry, no idea, I really can't help you with how this works and why it is like that. I can only tell you about our experiences and what worked for us and strongly recommend that unless you've had a company move before or used a relocation firm that actually helped then I'd suggest you go it alone.

There are certain documents only your company can provide such as your contract, details of salary, allowances and you will need them to provide those in the countries language of where you are moving to. 

In regards to your personal  side of things, such as removal companies, finding housing at your new destination, transporting pets, getting your personal documents together just DO IT YOURSELF and claim back where you can.

For us, our move was complicated by the fact we are British but living in South Africa on an expiring visa. Having been informed by HR that our documents needed attesting at the UAE Embassy and several requests to have this explained to us, we set off on the first part of the journey ourselves and called the UAE Embassy in Pretoria who then informed us that our documents have to be attested in our country of origin.

Next step call the UAE Embassy in London and ask how they want our documents presented, costs and timeline, who informed us all documents must be legalised by the Foreign Office. Documents to the embassy must be submitted before 9am, £30 fee (cash only) per document and collect by 4.30pm

The Foreign Office require all documents to be originals, except for driving licence and passport which must be certified by a solicitor who must be registered with the Foreign Office. Except they didn't tell us this bit until after we'd sent the documents and we were delayed by a week getting the solicitor approved. Birth and marriage certificates must be General Registered Originals GRO's meaning anything that is hand written or hand signed is not a GRO, new copies were ordered off the government website at £9.50 each and took 2 weeks to arrive. The Foreign Office charge £30 per document plus £18 for next day delivery with the post office, £4.50 for their return by courier and take 5 working days. The solicitor charged £1 per signature.

The relocation company hired have been a big let down, they were on holiday when we arrived with nothing in place in regards to the house being ready, along with HR failing to submit the work visa application when they said they would and with the christmas period, we've been pretty much left on our own.

We had to beg for the medical aid and a letter of intention so we could open a bank account, but we still don't know how the medical aid works here and there is still no sign of the relocation allowance, expenses or salary from December in South Africa.

I contacted the shipping company to inform them we were having a few issues this end and in case something were to go wrong with customs could we please have the contact details for the rep this end. They promptly phoned the relocation company here to tell them this and emailled me back suggesting I talk to my husband as the relocation people are keeping him informed. Guess what? No less than 5 minutes later the relocation company emailed hubby 'out of the blue' with all the shipping details, customs and timescales.

So what have HR and the relocation experts done?

Replied to all emails and telephone calls with 'as previously discussed' despite after every call us emailing them asking for confirmation of timescales, costs etc.

They've both informed of us what they have done for us and tried to make us feel grateful that they've done what they have done to date. My response each time.....'it is in the contract and you are being paid to do the job'

Passed the buck rather successfully from one person to another, blaming the locals for their lack of tasks not being completed despite most of the locals being foreigners like them and ourselves.

The pet relocation, now that did go smoothly, but the relocation company employed the services of 2 competent companies who incidentally were both South African both back 'home' and in Dubai.

Hubbies work visa has been processed by an agency who have been efficient and have worked within the timescale, once HR finally got round to giving them the go ahead and after an unnecessary flight to Oman on the 13th processed the work visa and are now taking hubby through the residency visa and Emirates ID which will enable us to get our container released from customs, our air freight sent and an application made for Internet, phone, post box and red card to purchase alcohol which we need desperately now.

However this is all managed by HR and the relocation firm and I have little/no faith that this will be a smooth process.

Once all that is in place my residency visa application will be made, we can open a joint bank account and once we receive moneys owed can make payments via off shore back to the UK to replenish our savings and finally start our new lives here in Dubai.

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