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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

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?”


  1. asim on June 20, 2012 8:56 am

    Interesting. Dubai cannot survive without the thousands of hardworking immigrants who take up jobs that you would not find a local do, even if he has a gun to his head. I like the point that the former build the city, as every economy needs them, they are a vital part. Lets see how this pans out

  2. Mami on June 20, 2012 9:39 am

    If they can’t afford it, they can’t stay. If they can’t stay, no more cheap labour to build burjes, clean your house on occasion, gardeners, drivers and everyone that makes life “convenient” here. So either the cost of labour will go up and we will have to pay REAL money for these conveniences, or they leave because they can’t afford to stay as they used to. If they’re lucky, it’ll actually work out to benefit the poor souls…

  3. NANOOO on June 20, 2012 2:20 pm

    They said the contract should be on the employer name but they didn’t specified if each contract should include only a one tenant name. I wonder if the joint rent contract will meet the Gov. requirement, just like in Europe and many other countries, you live with partner and had the rent, electricity…etc. on both names.
    As the law is not specific with this point they can play around it.

  4. mohammed on June 21, 2012 11:48 am

    The asian labour force have already have been steadily leaving Dubai for good since the last 2 years. By this way, more will soon leave.

  5. vien on July 16, 2012 3:20 pm

    If want to impose this rule they might as well impose the rule on salary law which one professional worker must receive… Increase their salary! The employers are not filing the college certificates of the employees to be able to give a very low salary!… Now the employees will suffer with this new law… specifically the expatriates!

  6. michael on October 12, 2012 7:49 am

    is there any concrete plans of the UAE government for the expatrates who recieves not more than 3000 there any posibilities that the UAE govt.helps the expats to survive for there accomodation.

  7. swapna on November 12, 2012 7:47 pm

    i am working in UAE, Dubai. My salry is 3100+company accomodation. I would like to get my husband and children. Pls let me know thr rules nd regulationds.

  8. Faisal Siddiq on December 9, 2012 11:02 pm

    my total salary is 2500 (Basic 800), can i get my wife husband visa. I am working as a follow up clerk.


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