New family sponsorship law for expats in the UAE takes effect

Expats – both men and women – can sponsor their family members if they earn a monthly salary of Dhs4,000 or Dhs3,000 plus accommodation



Expats in the UAE will now be allowed to sponsor their family members purely based on income, it was announced on Sunday.

The new regulation comes after the UAE Cabinet adopted a decision in April to allow expats to sponsor their family members in the country based on income rather than their profession.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) announced on Sunday that expats – both men and women – who work in UAE can sponsor their family members (spouse, children under-18 and unmarried daughters), if they earn a monthly salary of Dhs4,000 or Dhs3,000 plus accommodation provided by the employer.

Previously, a man had to earn a monthly salary of atleast Dhs4,000 or Dhs3,000 plus accommodation to sponsor his family while a woman had to make a minimum of Dhs10,000 per month to bring her family to the country.

Also, only expats working in certain professions were allowed to sponsor their family members.

Potential beneficiaries must provide proof of appropriate housing and health insurance for their families, as well as their registration in the national population database. They must also apply for IDs for every family member.

The sponsor must also present a certified marriage certificate and their children’s birth certificates translated into Arabic, as well as proof of their monthly income.

A wife wishing to sponsor their children must attach a certified written agreement from her husband.

Widowed and divorced women can also sponsor their children, but they must present a recently issued divorce or death certificate to prove custody.

The resolution also requires families to declare one sponsor, either a husband or wife, to prevent multiple sponsors.

The new step will “promote family stability and social cohesion, and contribute to eliminating gender-related disadvantages in UAE society”, said major general Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, director general for Foreign Affairs and Ports at ICA.

While first announcing the Cabinet decision, Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli, minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, stated that the decision “will improve the family lives and social ties of private sector workers”.

He also stressed that the move will “increase productivity” in the labour market, “support the national economy, and improve the performance of workers within a comprehensive environment that will integrate the entire community”.

The UAE currently hosts residents from over 200 nationalities and their rights are “safeguarded by national legislation”, Al Hamli added.

Read: UAE to allow expats to sponsor families on income rather than job title