In order to legally work in Abu Dhabi, expats will need to obtain a residence visa sponsorship for employment.
Expats must have an employer sponsor them by offering them a job contract and applying with the appropriate authorities for the visa.
For the most part, the hiring company assumes the responsibility of completing most of the paperwork and braving the bureaucracy that comes with it. That said, it's a good idea for expats to familiarise themselves with the process and take note of the documents they'll need to submit to help them on their way.
Getting a work permit in Abu Dhabi
After finding a job and successfully negotiating a job contract, which is by far the most challenging part of the process, expats need to apply for permission to work in Abu Dhabi by obtaining a residence visa. The process of securing a residence visa will typically be handled by the employer, and the employee must provide all the requested notarised paperwork to their employer to support the application process.
Generally, companies are familiar with this process and will provide the applicant with a clear list of the documents they must gather. Once the paperwork has been processed, the successful applicant will be issued an entry permit, allowing them to come to Abu Dhabi and the greater UAE.
Upon arrival, expats must complete and pass a medical exam and submit the results to their employer. They will finish the application process with this information, and the applicant will be issued a labour card, the official document that gives them the right to work in Abu Dhabi.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
What do expats say about getting a work permit in Abu Dhabi?
"As long as you have the correct qualifications, getting a work permit in the UAE is fairly easy. The school’s HR took care of the whole process for us. The only thing you will have to do is pass your medical test." Marika, originally from South Africa, talks about life in Abu Dhabi in her interview.
"If you come here to start a job the company will take care of the visa and paperwork for you, and if you come here without a job, once you secure one again, the company will usually process the visa for you. For men on a family contract, the company will usually process the visas for your wife and kids too. It can be more complicated for a woman to sponsor her husband and kids, whether it is allowed or not usually depends on income and the specific job title they hold." In her interview, Scottish expat Lindsay shares her Abu Dhabi experience.
►Read Visas for Abu Dhabi for a more detailed look at getting a work permit for Abu Dhabi
Are you an expat living in Abu Dhabi?
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