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UAE e-labour card service not applicable to free zone firms

The Ministry of Labour to stops issuing plastic labour cards and paper employment contracts from today

By Sidra Tariq

The UAE’s Ministry of Labour will start issuing electronic labour cards and contracts for companies in mainland UAE from today (Sunday, July 13).

The ministry’s new electronic service and the discontinuation of tangible cards and contracts is not applicable to companies within free zones, as they are not under its jurisdiction, according to a customer service representative at the government entity.

When contacted, an agent from Dubai Media City says the free zone will continue to follow regular procedures of issuing the documents until further notice.

Under the new service, mainland companies can request for electronic labour cards and contracts for their employees through Tas’heel service centres or online if they are already registered with Tas’heel, according to a report in WAM.

While new and renewed permits will have to be obtained electronically, current permit holders can continue to use their labour cards and contracts until the renewal period. Once the electronic versions have been obtained, companies can print the cards and contracts for their employees in paper form, the representative adds.

Employers are required to apply for the electronic permits within 60 days of a new employee’s entry into the UAE. Failure to do so can result in a fine worth AED1,000 for each month of delay. Once the application is submitted and all conditions are met, the ministry will reportedly grant a preliminary approval and issue the permits electronically. Employee data will then be sent to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to finalise residency procedures, adds the WAM report.

The labour card and contract will reportedly be issued within 48 hours of submitting an application. The documents can be viewed online by both employers and employees through the ministry’s eNetwasal service, which is accessible through its website ( for free.

The service is in line with UAE’s Smart Government initiative and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide high-quality services to customers.

It is unclear how much the government will save by discontinuing the printing of plastic cards.