Expats in Qatar now refused visas on arrival at UAE airports.

Published:  7 Jun at 6 PM
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As the snap diplomatic rift launched by Saudi Arabia and the UAE emirates on Qatar continues, its effect of expats’ lives is becoming clearer.

For expats living and working in Qatar, the rift is likely to make their jobs harder, with the latest news stating expats who reside in Qatar will no longer be granted visas on arrival in the UAE. This latest ban is part of a Saudi plan to isolate Qatar from the rest of Gulf States, and comes in addition to another announcement stating Qataris are now forbidden from landing or transiting to other destinations at Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports.

Bad news for expats used to travelling between the various Gulf States and their home countries translates into even worse news for the country’s carrier, Qatar Airways. Routes linking Doha with the UAE and Saudi Arabia are its mainstay, and transiting passengers heading to Europe, America or Asia are also important to the flagship airline. After cancelling all 55 of its affected flights, the airline offered rebooking or refunds to affected passengers. In a further move, transiting through Egypt and Bahrain has also been banned.

The multiple bans are also likely to continue affecting Muslim pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia during the Ramadan holy month, with Indonesia already re-routing a number of passengers onto alternative flights. The situation is becoming even more confusing as the bans now include overflights above Qatar.

Even so, this being the age of the internet, comic relief about the crisis is now a hit on Twitter via the DohaUnderSiege handle, giving trapped Western expats and Qatari nationals something to smile about. The tweets concentrate on the supposedly luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by expat professionals in the city, mentioning ‘trading my Rolex for a decent espresso’ and the sad fact that the Four Seasons buffet is now out of chicken and its chocolate fountain has ‘slowed to a drizzle’. Also mentioned are riots at Carrefour when Greek yoghurt ran out and gluten-free granola bars were no longer available.
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