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New visa rules to take effect today

posted on 15/02/2004: 1497 views

Details of new rules to allow visitors to obtain employment visas without leaving the UAE are expected to be finalised today. The Ministry of Interior and the General Naturalisation and Residency authorities are finalising details of the new law after President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan gave the order.

At least 43 passengers died in a plane crash while on a visa-change flight from Kish to Sharjah on Tuesday. A spokesman said that the new system for implementing the visa change norms was being drawn up. At present any visitor to the UAE is required to leave the country before re-entering with a new employment visa.

Lieutenant Colonel Salem Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Sharjah Naturalisation and Residency Department, told Gulf News that the interior ministry expected to implement the law today. Lt Col Al Suwaidi added that following instructions from Sheikh Zayed, the move was aimed at easing the procedure for visitors to obtain employment visas and to scrap the need for taking visa-change flights to other countries such as Kish.

Only visitors finding work in professional jobs such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, journalists and oil experts had been exempt from having to re-enter the country to obtain an employment visa. He added that visa extensions should be applied through the General Residency and Naturalisation Department and that new rules would be applied to everybody, including blue-collar workers and professional people.

In another development, the spokesman said that people in the UAE on visitors' visas will no longer be allowed to renew their visa without leaving the country for at least one to three months as per the ministry proposal.

The exact minimum period of leaving the UAE before granting another visit visa will be determined by the cabinet. The official said those needing a second consecutive visit visa would have to fly back to their home countries for at least three months before returning to the UAE, eradicating the need for visa-change flights.

Visitors are normally allowed a 60-day visa which can then be extended for another 30 days. Lt Col Al Suwaidi said that there were still people working illegally in the country by entering the UAE under a visitor's visa and failing to change its status.

He said: "This is against the interior ministry law. Those offenders will face severe punishment. Also the employers who allow them to work in spite of the fact they are only on a visit visa will be punished according to the law, and they will face having their businesses closed down.

He explained that according to the law of the interior ministry, no deposit of Dh2,000 or any other amount would be collected for any visit visa issued from Sharjah. He said it would be incumbent on the sponsor to ensure that their visitor leaves the country within the stipulated period.

He reiterated that, according to the interior ministry rules, everyone was allowed to sponsor their relatives and no deposit was needed but they should comply with the salary requirements as well as the documentation required. He added that those who want to sponsor their friends should satisfy minimum salary and other requirements. (The Gulf News)


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