UAE workers must settle all credit card debt before heading home for good

I am Romanian and worked in Dubai from 2013 to last year. The company I worked for went bust and consequently I needed to start over and relocate back home, where I have lived since without a job. I have an outstanding balance on a credit card of Dh15,000 and some charges too of Dh3,400. What is your best advice on this issue? RA, Romania

If there is an outstanding debt, you should make an arrangement to repay it. Money borrowed should be repaid from both a legal and a moral point of view, and banks rarely write off debts. The card will continue to be accumulate interest, and probably fees, unless action is taken, so the outstanding balance will increase over time. If the bank registers a case for unpaid debt with the police, RA will not be able to enter the UAE without being arrested and possibly jailed until the debt is paid in full. The best course of action would be to contact the bank directly and arrange to start making payments, but this will be difficult if he is not working. Either way, I would still recommend contacting the bank to explain the current situation and to advise that the intention is to repay the debt once able and ensure the bank makes a note of this. Although it will not write off the money owed, ignoring the situation will not make things any better. RA may be able to return to the UAE to work, but must first check if there is likely to be any problems. He must start repaying the debt as soon as he starts earning.

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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