According to the UAE Labour Law, employment permit cannot be granted to Emiratis and expatriate residents under the age of 15. However, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) may permit youth between the ages of 15 and 18 years to work, after ensuring the following conditions are met and documents are obtained:
- written consent from the parent or the legal guardian of the minor
- birth certificate or a certificate estimating the age of the minor issued by the competent medical authorities
- physical fitness certificate for the requested work issued by the competent medical authorities
- expatriate minors and their parents have valid residence visa
- minors are not being recruited to do a type of work not prohibited under the UAE’s law
- the employer has a valid work licence
- work permit fees are paid.
The Labour Law forbids youth from working at night in industrial enterprises and undertake hazardous or strenuous jobs. The youth's working hours should not exceed six hours per day; they are entitled to one or more breaks totalling one hour per day. Working overtime or on holidays is also prohibited.
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The UAE is a party to the following international human rights treaties on children:
Students' temporary work and training permits
Earlier, youth who were on ‘students status’ were not allowed to work in the UAE. However, in June 2016, MoHRE issued Ministerial Resolution No. 713 of 2016 Concerning the Employment and Training of Students. This enables students to work and get trained at operating establishments or the establishments approved for training purposes.
Juveniles’ work permits
Based on the above resolution, students who are between 15 and 18 years old are permitted to work and are issued temporary juveniles’ work permits. Emiratis and expatriate youths with work permits can be hired to work on projects for up to six months. There are also work permits for those who wish to work fewer hours over a year.
Students above 12 and below 18 years who aim to get training are given training permits by MoHRE. Written consent of the student's guardian or custodian is required. MoHRE launched an online students' training form which enables them to enroll in the private sector for training purposes. This free form can be found on the ministry's website and in its 'Wajjehni' app for smart devices which is available on iTunes, Google Play and BlackBerry World. Forms can also be found at Tas'heel service centres.
The training programme
The training programme lasts for three months from the starting date. The contract must be submitted to MoHRE for approval prior to the signature from both ends. The eSignature card is considered obligatory to process the company's request to enroll the students. In all cases of employment of students, they must be treated as ordinary workers who work in similar conditions, in terms of all entitlements and benefits.
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