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Prerequisites of UAE visa spark mixed reactions

As the government aims to curb the influx of blue-collar workers from certain countries in South East Asia, Kipp ponders the possible long term ramifications...

September 18, 2012 12:01 by

Workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and The Philippines will soon face a difficult if not impossible time flocking to the UAE for work opportunities since the country’s Federal Residency Department has announced stricter visa regimes for tourist, conference and visit visas, particularly for countries they described as large labour exporting countries.

Visa regulations in the Middle Eastern country have always received a great deal of attention and a Smorgasbord of mixed reactions, particularly from those they set out to affect. There are currently several nationalities on the UAE’s, shall we call it, ‘blacklist’ whereby it is either impossible or rather extremely challenging for them to successfully receive a visit or residency/work permit.

This recent ruling, as Kipp would have guessed, is receiving mixed reactions as well. Why mixed you ask? Mainly because of its declared motives, end results and possible ramifications to the actual country. The initial reaction would be to immediately dismiss or vote against such a rule but then you hear that it is done with the best intentions and you remain uncertain of what to conclude.

While speaking with Gulf News, an official said that adopting stricter rules will ‘curb the influx of blue-collar workers’ from many labour exporting countries into the UAE. Kipp’s immediate counter-reaction would be to wonder why curbing an influx of those workers is a positive step, since it was that exact influx that has helped the country’s many growing sectors reach where they are today?

The official however, on condition of absolute anonymity (beats me?) further assured GN that they are in fact, being implemented with positive intentions. “This would help significantly reduce the risk that individuals engaged in organised crime or the trafficking of persons could gain entry to the country,” said the official.

The consideration of this ruling was, according to the report, provoked by the number of arrests of foreigners who have either resorted to illegally residing in the country while looking for work, begging or engaging in unlawful activities including human trafficking. Some people just spoil it for everyone don’t they?

Thanks to the aforementioned detainees, categories of workers including electricians, masons, farmers, tailors, cleaners, drivers and pipe fitters (among others), will be receiving a visit ban. The department has also set the prerequisite bar higher to include proof of hotel bookings, sufficient money, round trip airline tickets and a university degree.

The topic naturally took to the powerful trends of Twitter where many were bemused at this ruling, many said ‘we shouldn’t be surprised’ and others called the pre-requisites, particularly needing a university degree, ridiculous.

The Indian Consulate in UAE declined to comment on this matter as of now.

Whether the authority has genuinely pursued this ruling to cut down on unlawful activities, begging and illegal immigrants, one can hardly debate. Still, considering that the ‘heavy labour exporting’ countries included in this new regime do bring a lot of economic advantages to the country’s many industries, will the UAE, in essence, be biting the hand that feeds it?

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  1. Rassel Hassan Kadir on September 18, 2012 9:50 pm

    Dear Sir/Madam:
    The recent announcement on the part of UAE govt to put visa requirement to such a level where all the labor exporting countries will raise their hand. How practical and how realistic is this that a labor, mason, electrician, tailor, driver, farmer or a cleaner with a university degree exists in south Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal? And for any reason if someone has such degree will he work as the above mentioned profession? I doubted. I used to know a little story. Due to shortage of meat once someone produced three leg chicken and claimed a lot of name and fame for that. But when they tired to go for commercial production they were doing good too. Unfortunately when they try to catch one of the chicken with three legs they could not catch a single one. I hope UAE is not looking for a three legs chicken such as a cleaner with a university degree will come from the Asian countries and will clean their toilet and street. There is other way to say NO I just wondering who gave them the idea of such thing to make a mo-chary out of themselves. Even best of LUCK. Hope the word LUCK does not starts with a letter which just transform the whole meaning. Above all if I have a problem with my right hand I will not chop it off rather with treat it in a way that it gets cure rather cursing it.

  2. PPM on September 19, 2012 3:35 pm

    People do seem to be getting a little confused about the rule. It is NOT banning workers being properly recruited and brought here. It is only seeking to severely restrict the flood of workers who come on a visit visa and then hope for the best to get a job in the two months allowed.
    As they point out many people engaged in illegal activities come in this way so it won’t hurt to try to stop that.
    What they don’t point out is that a large portion of the business community in UAE seems to only get by due to the abundance of desparate, young people on visit visas who will take jobs paying salaries and benefits way, way lower than what they would have left their country for but are forced to take when running out of time here.
    Expect a lot of squeals of anquish from the exploiters as their little gold mine runs dry.


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