New UAE visa rules disallow expats from sponsoring visiting friends

Published:  15 Aug at 6 PM
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New visa rules enforced in the UAE early this month mean expats can no longer sponsor visiting friends.

The new mandate states only UAE nationals will be allowed to act as sponsors for foreign friends wishing to visit the emirates, and also makes health insurance compulsory for all visitors. In addition, a refundable deposit of Dh 1,000 will need to be collected before visit visas of any category can be issued. The deposit will be returned at the visitor’s point of exit from the country, and the Ministry of Interior is considering the exemption of visitors from certain countries from the deposit rule.

The rule changes are part of a restructuring of visitor visas and their fee structures, with the introduction of new types of visa also on the cards. Already defined reasons for visits include medical treatment, education and attending a conference or exhibition, with a multi-entry visitor visa already introduced. Residents can apply for visas covering their spouse or immediate relatives, but visas for second degree relatives must be approved by senior immigration officials.

Meanwhile, Qatar has announced the construction of three new hospitals aimed at expat workers in three regions, the North, Central and South. Expected to open by the end of next year, the high quality facilities will include a health centre, clinic, emergency room, laboratories and support services, all set in green spaces and with adequate parking lots.

In Oman, a government official has revealed that firms in the emirate are sacking expat workers claiming the effects of the oil price fall as the reason. However, many of the private sector companies involved are unaffected by the fall and are using it as an excuse in order to gain government funding. T

he same official added that Omani job seekers are not being employed for the same reason. Many, he said, are actively seeking work and are willing to give time to gain the experience needed to take over from expat professionals in the private sector. However, he said, local companies are playing down the need as they feel expatriate workers are easier to work with than locals.
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