Can an expat work in UAE on a tourist visa?

I live in Nigeria and intend to move to the UAE to work there on tourist visa. Is it advisable? Or do I need an employment visa, and how would I go about getting that? BR, Nigeria

Not only is this not advisable, it is illegal to work in the UAE without the correct visa. In the vast majority of cases, the employment visa comes under direct sponsorship from an employer and the employer should have this in hand by the time someone starts a job. Failing to do so can result in a substantial fine for both the employee and the employer, as well as deportation and possible blacklisting. Any non-GCC national looking to live and work in the UAE will need to find a job or set up their own company on a formal basis, unless sponsored by a spouse.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 20 years of experience. You can contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice


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