Overcoming Challenges in UAE Probation Period

What is Probation Period in UAE

What is Probation Period in UAE?

Depending on the employment contract, the UAE’s probation period usually lasts from three to six months. It is unlawful to extend an agreement beyond six months. After the probation period ends, you can resign.

We’ll talk about all the details regarding the probation period UAE as well as the notice period in UAE. Also, we’ll walk you through leave salary calculation in UAE, and what are the major difficulties one can face in the UAE probation period.


If you are on your probation period UAE, you must be from any foreign country struggling to settle in the Emirates and it must be a crucial time for you. Although the United Arab Emirates has a diversified economy with a quality of life above par, it has some strict laws when it comes to work and residency permits.

These six months are crucial for workers to demonstrate their competencies and must adapt to companies and society by facing challenges like language barriers, living standards, civil discipline and work relations.

Understanding the Dynamic Of Probation Period UAE

At the initial stage of the employment contract, the probation period UAE comes your way in which the employer assesses the worker’s abilities, and the worker also checks if the working conditions are suitable enough or not.

The probationary period is compliant with Emirati hiring rules and may vary according to your contract type. But generally, it is not more than six months from the date you enter the UAE. 

The employee enjoys the same benefits as other employees with the same rights, from salary to social security, and personal benefits and taxes.

However, there may be certain conditions in which an employer or employee can withdraw their contract without compensation or notification. Therefore, one must perform optimally, and understand the local work culture and practices including language and foster positive relationships with the management.

It will eventually lead to successful completion of the probationary period and permanent residence in the UAE.

Purpose and Importance

The purpose and importance of the probation period UAE is to allow the employer and employee to get to know each other and test whether they are compatible and suitable for the job and working conditions.

Your employment contract may get cancelled during the probationary period on the spot or without any compensation.

Therefore the probation period UAE is a golden opportunity to show the best skills and adaptation to local culture. Also, one has to be aware of all the benefits as well as challenges for employment and residence in the UAE.

Typical Duration and Variation

The probation period in UAE varies according to the job type and contract between you and your employer. UAE Workers’ Statute states that the employer and employee may agree in writing for the probation period with the maximum limits as follows:

  • The probation period for technically qualified workers may not surpass six months.
  • The probation period for workers without any technical qualification may not exceed three months.
  • Contractual workers with less than six months of work agreement will have their probation period for up to 25% of the contract duration i.e., two months maximum.

Keep in mind that these time limits of probation are varied accordingly or may be altered for justified reasons. The extension or termination of probation is derived from the factors like illness, absence, strike, accident, emergency, etc.

Probation Period UAE And Common Challenges



The probationary period in the UAE may pose several challenges that foreign workers may face:

  • The language barrier: Although English is extensively used as a common communication language in professional settings, Arabic is still the official UAE language so it is best if you learn basic Arabic to communicate with local clients and colleagues seamlessly.
  • Local culture, norms and customs: The UAE culture is Islamic and traditions are Arabic. So you must respect the local dress code, times for prayers, fasting in Ramadan, laws related to drugs and alcohol, and other social norms.
  • Job performance: The UAE has a thriving diversified and rapidly growing economy. So employers expect a high productivity level, quality work and an efficient approach from the workers.
  • Labour relations: The system in the UAE is sponsorship-based or kafala. That is why the employer takes the responsibility for processing the employment visa for workers visa and arranging their residency. Therefore, it is mandatory to maintain a positive relationship with your employer, personal conflicts and grudges should be avoided and your contract must be compliant with the local laws.

The probation period in UAE is full of these challenges but it does not mean that the opportunities are limited for working and living in the UAE. You can find jobs in Dubai according to your level of qualifications through various recruitment and staffing agencies in UAE that will help you land good opportunities according to your skill criteria.

Unclear Expectations

There are lots of unclear expectations that are not sufficiently communicated and clearly defined by the employer to the employees during the probation period UAE. It leads to a lot of confusion, which may frustrate you and conflict may arise during it. For Example:

  • The core responsibilities, kind of supervision and level of autonomy employers expect from the worker.
  • The criteria for evaluation, recognition, or feedback to the employee.
  • The overall compensation, incentives and benefits that the employer has to offer to the workers.
  • Employee rights, guarantees and obligations that the employer wants from the employee.
  • Career plans, training sessions, or development paths for the employee.

To bypass these kinds of unclear expectations, it is recommended to have a written agreement that clearly demonstrates the job description, objectives, functions, conditions, incentives, probation period, and other things from the employer and employee. It not only maintains transparency and honesty but also demonstrates a clear probationary period.

Performance Pressure

The performance pressure during the probationary period in the UAE can be immense. This is a stage where the employee must show competence, adaptation and integration into the company and society.

The UAE is a country with a diversified and competitive economy. So a high level of productivity, quality and efficiency is required of workers. In addition, the probationary period can be terminated without notice or compensation by either party, creating a situation of uncertainty and instability.

The pressure on performance can negatively affect the physical and psychological well-being of the worker. It causes stress, depression and anxiety, extreme fatigue, insomnia, irritation and other disorders. As a result, work quality is poor, errors are made, motivation is lacking, and workplace conflicts arise.

It is better to follow these strategies to cope with the performance pressure that occurs during the probationary period in UAE:

  • Plan and organize the work, setting realistic priorities, objectives and deadlines.
  • Ask for and receive constructive feedback, both from the employer and colleagues, to improve performance and resolve doubts.
  • Learning to manage stress, through relaxation techniques, breathing, meditation, physical exercise, etc.
  • Maintain a positive attitude, trusting in one’s abilities, recognizing achievements and learning from mistakes.
  • Seek a balance between work and personal life, dedicating time to leisure activities, rest, family and friends.

Cultural Adjustments

A foreign worker must adapt to the local culture, laws and religion of the UAE during the probation period UAE. Some of the aspects to keep in mind while adapting to cultural adjustments are:

  • Language: Learn Arabic as it is the official language of the UAE. Although English is used extensively to communicate with higher management, local clients and colleagues, Arabic will help you a lot.
  • Dress code: The UAE dress code is quite conservative especially because women must cover their arms, shoulders, and legs. For men, tank tops, shorts above knees and sandals are not desirable attire.
  • Prayer times: As UAE is an Islamic country and has a prayer schedule that is already established by the religion people follow. During prayer hours, one must respect the people’s privacy and avoid making noise, listening to music etc.
  • Ramadan fasting: Ramadan is celebrated in all Muslim countries as the holy month for fasting from sunrise to sunset. You have to respect people having fast during this period. Avoid drinking, eating, or smoking publically. Also, avoid public displays of affection.
  • Use of drugs and alcohol and UAE laws: UAE follows very strict laws when it comes to the possession, consumption and trafficking of drugs and alcohol. It leads to heavy penalties (monetary fines, arrest warrants, jail imprisonment and deportation). 
  • The rules of socializing: The UAE culture is solely based on mutual respect, hospitality and courtesy. The greeting among people is limited to a handshake, so one must avoid hugging or PDA especially when it comes to the opposite gender. Use of the surname or title is a must to address someone and avoid the discussion of sensitive subjects that may raise conflict.

Strategies for Overcoming Challenges in Probation Period UAE

There may be lots of challenges that you may find hard in your initial days in UAE. Follow these strategies religiously to help you face the probationary period in the UAE challenges:

  • Try to learn the Arabic language. Even some basic phrases will help you a lot when it comes to communication with colleagues or local clients.
  • Respect local laws, culture, rules and customs. Adapt to the dress code, prayer rituals, and holy month of Ramadan, and avoid drugs and alcohol consumption.
  • Keep your productivity level optimal, work quality high and be efficient at your workplace. Meet the demands and fulfil the expectations of your employer.
  • Maintain a healthy and good relationship with your sponsor or employer as your visa and work permit processing is in their hands.
  • Seek emotional and moral support from colleagues, family, friends, classmates, and various immigrant support organizations.

Performance Management

During the probation period in UAE, performance management involves continuous communication and feedback between the employer and the employee to achieve organizational objectives and assess the employee’s suitability. Performance management involves the following steps:

  • A written agreement on the duties, conditions and expectations of the probation period, as well as the employee’s evaluation criteria. 
  • Conducting regular monitoring of employee performance. This can be done through meetings, reports, surveys or other means, to verify the achievement of goals, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide guidance and support.
  • Conducting an employee’s performance for final evaluation when the probationary period ends to communicate if the employee has passed the probationary period or not.  
  • Besides, Conduct a meeting and action plan for the employee. In case he/she has passed the probationary period, to recognize his/her achievements set new objectives, and define improvement, development or career actions.

Self-Initiated Learning

Through the probation period in UAE is self-initiated learning one can seek, learn and use this knowledge freely and it has several benefits, such as:

  • Improving performance at job by keeping up to date with new trends, innovations and job market demands.
  • Increasing confidence, motivation and job satisfaction by feeling more competent, valued and recognized.
  • Develop adaptability, creativity and problem-solving skills by facing the challenges and opportunities that arise in the work environment.
  • To enhance employability, mobility and professional growth, by having a more attractive, competitive and differentiated profile.
  • Self-initiated learning during the probationary period in the UAE should be encouraged by following certain strategies.
  • Establish clear, specific and measurable learning objectives, related to job functions, expectations and goals.
  • Identify and leverage available learning sources, such as courses, books, articles, podcasts, videos, webinars, etc.
  • Seek and solicit feedback, advice and guidance from superiors, peers, mentors or experts to enhance learning and resolve doubts.
  • Reflect on and evaluate one’s learning, by recording, analyzing and self-assessing progress, achievements and mistakes.
  • Apply and share learning, by putting into practice, transferring and disseminating acquired knowledge and skills.

Probation Period In The UAE: Testimonials, and Success Stories

We’ll share some of the real success stories and testimonials from people who have successfully completed the probationary period in the UAE challenges to become an inspiration for others:

  • Nora is a fashion designer and was let down by a neuromuscular disease that made a wheelchair-bound. But Nora was so positive and determined that she showed a tremendous performance during her trial period and her talent and creativity were appreciated by her colleagues and her boss.
  • A boy from Spain, Mamadou worked in various perilous jobs until he was awarded a scholarship to pursue his dream of studying computer engineering. Mamadou’s probationary period was full of challenges to adapt to the culture and language of the UAE. But he learned Arabic and started making friends which let him survive there easily.
  • Leïti was diabetic since he was 12, and despite that, he achieved to become a singer and actor and developed his artistic career. Leïti says that his probationary period in UAE was full of illness and stress, but that she got support from family and her friends to survive.


When it comes to the probationary period in the UAE, it is an utmost importance for employees and employers equally. It lets them get a chance to know really of each other and evaluate whether they are compatible with each other or not.

The probationary period in the UAE keeps the employees competent, and adaptable and makes their integration into the work culture and society smooth.

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