Work Permit for Expats Over 60 Years of Age and Official Retirement Age for Expats In the UAE

Dubai attracts hundreds of ex-pats from around the globe for employment with a well-developed infrastructure and fast-growing economy. The emirate in the UAE offers self-motivated and dynamic job opportunities to a diversified group of locals as well as ex-pats every year. There are some employment laws that workers and employers in the city have to abide by to ensure a fair and balanced work environment. One of the key laws that are required to follow in Dubai pertains to the age limit for retirement and the minimum age for employment. 

Though the retirement age for ex-pat residents in the UAE is 60 years, they are allowed to continue working till the age of 65 years wherein their employers have secured the necessary permits. However, it is mandatory for employees who have exceeded 60 years of age to apply for work permits via MoHRE. The labour cards need to be renewed annually for employees who are above 60 years of age. The cost for work permit approval for seniors above 65 years costs is AED 5,000 which has to be done every two years.

The Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 does not explicitly state the age of retirement for foreign workers in the UAE. The expatriates above the age of 60 have previously been allowed to work in the UAE and continue to be able to do so. There has never been a restriction on the age for residency for those who run their own businesses. Also, there are certain industries or companies that may have their own internal policies regarding retirement, which are not mandated by law.

Article 3, clause C of The Ministerial Resolution 52 of 1989 stated that the retirement age previously was 60. However, exceptions were made for highly valued and skilled employees beyond this age limit even with the previous law. Furthermore, as the current Labour Law does not have any conditions specifying the maximum age for issuing work permits to foreign workers approval has to be given by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to accept and grant work permits or visas for expatriate nationals that are seeking to work above the age of 60. The main factors taken into consideration are qualifications and the extent of the expertise in the employment.

The age of retirement for foreigners in the UAE is either above the age of 55 or after completing at least 15 years of service which is as per the requirements in immigration. This is on foreigners’ entry and residency which is in accordance with Article 52 (1) of UAE Cabinet Decision No. 65 of 2022. By seeking proper legal advice from a well-known employment lawyer the application for a Retirement Residence Permit can be made by Foreigners who meet one of these two criteria.

While the UAE Labour Law does not state an age for retirement in the UAE, for anyone who wants to retire in the country there is a specific need to apply for a residency permit for retirement which is also referred to as the Retirement Visa. The UAE’s Immigration Laws then come into effect and these laws do specify a minimum age after which an individual can be qualified for a retirement visa.

The conditions that need to be met to apply for the retirement residency permit

  1. The foreign national’s service period prior to their retirement shall not be less than 15 years (whether inside or outside of the UAE) or the foreign national is at least 55 years old; and
  2. The foreign expatriate must fulfil one of the following criteria:


  1. Must own a property (or multiple properties) worth at least UAE Dirhams One Million (1,000,000 AED) in the UAE;
  2. Have financial savings of at least UAE Dirhams One Million (1,000,000 AED) (whether inside or outside of the UAE, provided it is deposited in any financial institution in the UAE);
  3. Must have an active monthly income of UAE Dirhams Twenty Thousand (20,000 AED) or its equivalent in foreign currencies.

The active monthly income requirement may vary slightly depending on the Emirate that issues the visa. The residence permit that allows expatriates to live in the UAE without requiring a sponsor for an extended period is the Golden Visa (Golden Residence), which is a residency visa for 10 years that is granted to investors, business professionals, talented artists, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanities and frontline workers which is renewable every 10 years. Through this visa, one can also sponsor their family for a similar duration of time. However, to apply for this visa, there are certain eligibility requirements one needs to meet.

The rule was changed by the Ministry of Labour in 2011 wherein it did accept requests for work permits for individuals aged 60 and above. Prior to this, the rule for the age of retirement was set to 60 years. Pursuant to this the Ministry of Labour was not accepting requests that were made for work permits. Most of the free zones that follow the Labor Law in the UAE need not follow it as they are independent to follow their own set of rules and policies of the Company. Also, in addition to the Labour Law in the UAE, the free zones have their own rules which they may follow. 

This convention has been followed by many countries. It’s a thinking that past this age an individual may not be as quick and sharp as they used to be which is a wrong notion. Also, it’s a mode of making way for the new generation of individuals to enter the labour market by retiring the older generation already in employment. It is also crucial since many highly specialized Doctors; Engineers cannot be let go just because they have crossed 60 years of age. All the knowledge, experience and expertise that these individuals have is unique and useful.

Those who are 55 years and above are allowed to reside in the emirate of Dubai on a retirement visa as a part of Dubai’s new retirement scheme, ‘Retire in Dubai,’. The parties who are interested worldwide can participate that also includes the long-term residents of Dubai. This is a first-of-its-kind scheme in the region wherein retirees can apply for a retirement visa in Dubai.

The scheme was launched upon the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and was mainly designed to assist ex-pats and foreigners living in Dubai after their retirement.

Dubai has become a popular destination for young professionals in recent decades due to the opportunities in the country and the scheme that follows wherein an ex-pat is near retirement they return home.

There are specific retirement criteria to be adopted for ex-pats to permanently retire in Dubai with the introduction of the five-year Dubai retirement visa. The retirement visa scheme will be restricted to Dubai residents that reside in the emirate for over ten years in the initial phase. Furthermore, the scheme has been initiated to provide long-term residents in the emirate with a hassle-free retirement option.

The UAE Cabinet approved a law granting a long-term visa to retired residents over 55 in September 2018. The applicants who have met the criteria for eligibility will qualify for a 5-year renewable retirement visa as below: