Sons who are on visas sponsored by their parents – including those leaving school or finishing university – will be among the main beneficiaries. Husbands sponsored by their wives will also benefit as could older fathers living with their adult children.
Until now, only women, typically wives and daughters sponsored by a parent or spouse, have been eligible for a work permit, also known as a labour card. That means men need a full visa and medical insurance provided by their employer.
Work permits exist to allow companies to hire people who are already legal residents. They enable companies to save on visa costs and medical insurance, which would be covered by the spouse or, usually, their spouse’s employer.
The labour ministry said the move would make it cheaper for businesses to take on staff – work permits cost less than visas – and allow families to bring in more earnings.
“The resolution aims to provide stability to families by enabling them to increase their source of monthly income,” said Saif Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
The new fee for a two-year work permit for a skilled or limited skilled worker is Dh300 for all categories of companies, he said.
Previously, a work permit cost up to Dh5,000, though the costs vary depending on the position and the type of company.
All work permit fees must be paid by the company and not the employee, the undersecretary said.
Last month, the UAE government said parents will be able to sponsor their sons for up to two consecutive years once they reach the age of 18.
Previously, they were cut off on reaching adulthood, meaning they had to find a job and visa themselves upon leaving school or university. In contrast, daughters can be sponsored by their parents until they are married.
Last month, the UAE began issuing long-term renewable 10-year visas to leading business figures and entrepreneurs.