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New UAE visa rules target low income groups
The seemingly innocuous new visa renewal rule, announced by the Interior Ministry of the UAE, has more serious repercussions than what meets the eye says Priyanka Pradhan
June 19, 2012 6:13 by Priyanka Pradhan
The new visa rule requires UAE residents to submit a tenancy contract in their own name, along with the application, to renew their residence visa. However, wives are exempt from this rule.
While this might seems like a standard administrative procedure, it actually leaves the majority of low-income residents completely in the lurch. It directly targets the sub- letters and tenants who share houses and are unable to rent a flat on their own, usually due to monetary constraints.
Illegal, but hugely popular amongst the low income groups mostly comprising Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Filipino communities, this sub culture will be highly affected. Previously, sub-letters were liable to pay a hefty fine and tenants sharing a flat illegally, faced the risk of eviction. However, now UAE officials are sending a clear message across with the implementation of the new rule- If you cant afford to rent a flat on your own, your residence visa will not be renewed. May as well bid adieu to your job and life in the Emirates, then.
This comes a rude shock to the innumerous bachelors and even families sharing flats together, who cannot afford to rent by themselves .The other option available to these residents is to move to Sharjah, where the rents are lower than that of Dubai but travelling to work will be an issue for the lower income groups.
The main (or only) beneficiary of the new rule will be the government, of course. More tenants will mean more cash coming in from the taxes and Municipality fees levied on legitimate tenants. But will these residents be able to afford it?
Since the average salary of a resident who falls in the low income group in Dubai is below Dh 3000 per month, it will indeed be a struggle to rent a house on his own in the UAE. The rent for a studio apartment in Dubai starts from Dh25000 per year, which roughly works out to be Dh2000 per month. Add to that, the DEWA bills and security deposit, it is virtually impossible for low income residents to afford a house of their own.
Apart from the math, it is also the question of empathy. The loudest one being, “Is the country willing to compromise the hands that built the city, for more taxes?”