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Thousands benefit from new visa regulations

posted on 07/03/2004: 1235 views



Thousands of people have already benefited from the new law which allows visitors to obtain employment visas without leaving the UAE. The law was laid down by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan after the Kish Airline plane crashed during a visa-change run, killing 43 passengers and crew.



Expatriates who enter the country as tourists and then find work can now change their visa status to an employment visa without the need to leave and re-enter the UAE. Previously, many people would take short trips to neighbouring countries to minimise the inconvenience of changing their visa status. And only visitors, such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, journalists and oil experts were exempt from the rule.



Lt Col Salem Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Sharjah Naturalisation and Residency Department, told Gulf News that a large number of expatriates have benefited from the new rule. He added that the Ministry of Interior and the General Naturalisation and Residency authorities were still drawing up details of the new law which is expected to be finalised within days.



However, the official pointed out that anyone who made a second consecutive trip under a visitors' visa would still have to fly to another country before returning to the UAE on a new tourist visa. Visitors are normally allowed a 60-day visa, which can then be extended for another 30 days. The director said: "UAE's rules stipulate that visitors are issued with new visas while they are in their home countries and not in the emirates."



However, an Interior Ministry official said the visit visa rules have not been finalised yet. "The ministry is considering suggestions stating that people who arrived to the UAE on visit visas should no longer be allowed to renew the visa without leaving the country for 1 to 3 months. The new rules are aimed at easing the procedure for visitors to obtain employment visas. It also eliminates the need for taking visa-change flights to other countries such as Kish. (The Gulf News)

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