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Issues with issuing Visas

Issues with issuing Visas

It’s not just the Canadians with issues: Moving the goalposts for visa entry to the UAE is not in anybody’s interest, least of all the country.

November 11, 2010 5:23 by

A recent chain mail in Kipp’s in box started something like this: “You know you are an expat from the Gulf when the word VISA conjures images of credit cards for most, but for you means a page in your passport.”

It couldn’t be any truer. Living in this limbo-like security of the UAE, the possession of a UAE visa is source of much importance and contention for expats: Your visa could tie you down to your current employer or, on the flip side, if you employer decided to cut the ties between the two of you, your visa could also render you homeless as well as unemployed. Or even worse, unable to return to the country for a while.

For a while, the UAE was granting long-term visas for investors of real-estate, but it seems the offer crashed along with the property boom (not to mention without a lucid explanation of any kind).

The arbitrary and almost irrational handling of visas has long since fascinated (and occasionally frustrated) Kipp, and when we heard of the recent developments with Canadian visas we couldn’t help but feel a little weary. It was announced this week that Canadians travelling to the UAE will now be required to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. The new and unexpected regulations come after a series of diplomatic crossed words between the two nations. For starters the Canadian government refused Emirates and Etihad more access to Canadian airports, and the UAE retaliated by not renewing the lease of Camp Mirage, a Canadian logistics base in Dubai used by the Canadian military for their operations in Afghanistan. And let’s not forget there was the UAE’s recent spat with RIM and the perhaps empty threat to ban the use of the Blackberry services in the UAE.

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  1. Ronald on November 18, 2010 11:16 am

    I understand Kipp’s concerns, but i do not agree with the fact that dealing with the west as the west deals with the mid east is a wrong turn.

    I’m a middle easterner that frequently visits the UAE, and every time i visit i need to aquire a visa… it’s annoying to say the least and a boon for close proximity short term stays, but it’s at least easier than going to Canada or other places west where my whole life is to be dissected before the agree to give me a visa. that goes to almost all people holding Mid-East passports.

    now my opinion on how and for how long visas are given does not pertain much to the subject, but i don’t think it’s the end of the world if a Canadian need to send some papers to the UAE embassy to get a visa before he travels. the majority of the world’s population does just that before they have to travel, sometimes with very dissapointing results, so i believe the UAE, though seeming Bullish are doing the right thing and standing up for a fair trade/relationship… i just wish all mid-east nations had the clout to do just that…

  2. Ofiroz on December 1, 2010 10:38 am

    Pleasure to see UAE is flexing little muscles towards the west! As Mr.Ronald said above, majority of the people are travelling to any country other than their own require visa, and there is a procedure to obtain that; we have taken it as a normal routine, I can’t understand one thing though why Kipp is crying for Canadians? Do they have extra horn?
    They got what they deserved. If I have to travel to Canada I got to go through heck of a lot pain than to UAE or any countries in Middle East in that matter. And I am from Asia!

  3. Rowena Alderson on December 30, 2010 6:47 am

    Kipp is right to raise this an overall visa issue, as it does pose a mid-long term blight over the property industry in Dubai which is nearly on it’s knees. The promise of a residential visa when you purchase property was the only carrot for many people to buy. People need security; they will not invest here if they know the rug can be pulled out from them at any moment. This constant twist and turnabout re visa issue (unless you are under an employment visa) causes people to vote with their feet and have no confidence to invest here if they can only get a tourist visa for 30 days at a time. The old UAE adage of ‘We will build and the people will come’ cannot be sustained if ‘people’ cant stay in their own properties for more than 30 days at a time. How do they expect the property market to get back on it’s feet without any longer term living prospects? I wish the UAE would make up it’s mind about whether they want expat investors here or not. Mixed messages will never stabilise the investor market.


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