I worked in the UAE for 15 years and then I lost my job and left the country. I have almost Dh70,000 owed on credit cards to five different banks. The cards are now all overdue by more than three months and the banks are chasing me for payments. They are all sending messages to my Dubai telephone number stating they are going to file a case against me. I am trying to get a new job in the UAE so what should I do? If they file a case against me how I can enter the UAE? KA, India
As KA left the UAE, did not contact the banks and has made no payment for over three months, it is not surprising they are trying to contact him regarding the unpaid debts.
If anyone misses three payments or more on a credit card or personal loan a bank has the right to register a police case for non-payment and this would mean he would be detained and arrested on returning to the UAE.
The obvious answer is to make a payment to each of the banks to whom money is owed and to advise them that further payment is forthcoming. The more that can be paid the better.
If there is no contact from the customer, the banks will deposit any security cheques they are holding which will lead to a bounced cheque and even if they don’t do so, they can still register a police case.
KA has defaulted on his agreements and while it is tough to be made redundant, the lack of communication with the banks is only making the situation worse. As the situation stands, he is likely to be arrested on arrival and even having a new passport will not prevent that.
Assuming some payments are made and he plans to return to the UAE, he would be advised to get confirmation from each of the credit card issuers that they have not registered a case against him.
I was terminated by my employer last month as part of a downsizing initiative. I had been with the company for four years and nine months. They gave me details of my settlement including annual leave payments, three months’ salary and the end of service gratuity. This was to be the final settlement and they informed me the amount will be credited only after the visa is cancelled. I have given my passport for visa cancellation and a few days after they credited only half the agreed amount to my account. Further to my subsequent emails and text messages, they have not given me any proper replies. Is there anything I can do to get the rest of the payment due? SN, Dubai
The UAE Labour Law does not state when the end of service gratuity and other final benefits should be paid, but the expectation is that this would be at the time of the final salary payment and when the residency visa is cancelled, so when employment formally ceases.
Employees are usually asked to sign a letter or form stating that they have received all that is due to them, so the visa can be cancelled; this is a clear indicator it should be paid upon finishing work.
If a payment is outstanding, then the employee can go to their local Tasheel (labour) office or register a complaint at the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (formerly the Ministry of Labour); the helpline number is 800 665.
Ideally an employee should not sign any confirmation of payment until monies are actually received, but in reality this is not always the case. SN has confirmation from his former employer of the amount due so has the evidence to back up his case. He should find the ministry supportive in a situation like this.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.
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