As part of its determined drive to create stronger relations with the customers and open up more communicate channels with the customers, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) has launched a bilingual monthly newsletter, Manafez Dubai.
GDRFA-Dubai Director General, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri received the first copy of the newsletter at a ceremony held at the GDRFA-Dubai Stand in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM-2014). Senior officials from GDRFA-Dubai and representatives of various government organisations and public sector companies attended the event.
He said, “The newsletter has been designed to project the GDRFA-Dubai initiatives and programmes and provide a platform to reach out strongly with the residents and visitors of Dubai.” “Manafez Dubai will bring us more close to our clients and keep them up to date about our services. The knowledge-sharing initiative will come at a time when GDRFA-Dubai has been making available its services electronically to the customers under the Smart Government initiative with ‘zero counter’ goal by 2015,” he added.
Produced, marketed and promoted by Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management, the glossy, multi-colour publication contains exclusive interviews with GDRFA-Dubai management and reports about its various initiatives and policies.
The online version of the 70-page magazine is available at www.manafezdubai.com.
GDRFA-Dubai Deputy Director General Brigadier Obaid Muheir bin Suroor, said, “The launch of Manafez Dubai has been aimed at highlighting the challenges and rapid changes in Borders Control which plays a vital role in securing the country and supporting the national economy. The newsletter is designed to be the voice of the GDRFA-Dubai and to communicate with the public. Manafez Dubai will also address a range of topics of interest to people and the society and will provide technical information on systems and devices used in borders control by GDRFA-Dubai.”
In the cover story on GDRFA-Dubai’s Smart Government initiative, Major General Al Marri, said, “Listed out the performance and achievements of GDRFA-Dubai across a broad spectrum of activities.” He said, “Our target is to make 98% of government services Smart. Over the past five years, we increased the smart services from 65% in 2007 to 96% as of today.”
GDRFA-Dubai has 267 electronic services for its individual and corporate customers as of now. In 2013, it issued 980,000 electronic visas as against 350,000 electronic visas issued in 2012.
About Smart Gates, he said, “We are planning to replace 100 e-Gates in phases in Dubai and Al Maktoum Airports with Smart gates. Also, there are plans to install 120 Smart Gates gradually to handle the rising numbers of passengers at Dubai International Airport which handled 66.4 million passengers last year. The Smart Gate project will be implemented in cooperation with Dubai Airports and Dubai Aviation City Corporation.”
More than 5.3 million passengers used the Smart Gates at Dubai airports in 2013.People can replace their eGate cards with Smart Gate cards. About 700,000 people have registered so far for Smart Gate, of whom 300,000 are eGate card holders. GDRFA-Dubai would hire 300 people in 2014 who will be trained and placed across different departments in GDRFA-Dubai. The number of entry permits issued last year by the GDRFA-Dubai was 12,711,412 while the number of residency visa transactions was almost four million.
Colonel Hussein Ibrahim, Assistant Director General of Seaports and Head of the Transition to Smart Services Projects at GDRFA-Dubai, said, “The Directorate has been working to make its e-services available to customers via Smartphone applications by end of this year, much ahead of the deadline set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the Smart Government initiative.”
The GDRFA-Dubai aims to have ‘zero counters’ which means zero visitors to the Directorate. The GDRFA will have all its services Smart and it will be available through four smartphones systems, including Android, Blackberry and Windows, in phases. A report highlights how a new visa policy introduced by GDRFA-Dubai is facilitating and supporting the growth of medical tourism in the emirate.
The initiative is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. Overseas patients who wish to seek treatment in Dubai are now able to get a three-month medical tourist visa, extendable twice – up to nine consecutive months. The newsletter sheds light on Thermal Imaging, one of the technologies that have been immensely helping the immigration, border control and security authorities in many parts of the world, including the UAE.
The newsletter also details the concept, role and benefits of SmartS, a global programme by IATA which replaces the Checkppoint of the Future designed to ensure hassle-free passenger facilitation at the airports by 2020.
In the Opinion pages, Dieter A Heinz, President, German Association for Airport Technology and Equipment (GATE), argued that Smart airports need Smart travelers. Michael Herrero, Manager for Gulf region at International Air Transport Association (IATA), underscored the need for facilitating swift and secure border crossings for the passengers whose number have been increasing average by 5.3% annually.
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Mohammed Abdul Mannan