Life for UAE expats just got a whole lot better

June 14, 2018 9:56 am

UAE has just announced major changes to foreign worker insurance procedures, as well as visa legislation. These changes will have a huge positive impact on expats’ lives in the country.

Global Media Insights reports that expats make up 88.52% of the total population, with Indians being the most populous among the expat nationalities. The World Bank estimates that the country’s population will hit 9.543 million by the end of 2018. Based on that estimate, the number of expats in the country will total to an astonishing 8.447 million. These are 8.5 million people who are about to be impacted significantly by these new laws.

The Cabinet of the UAE, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, adopted a number of new strategic decisions with regards to foreign workers’ insurance in the private sector, as well as a legislative package of visa facilitations.

The insurance scheme has been overhauled and made more bearable for expats with less income. The new insurance scheme reduces the mandatory AED 3,000 deposit ($817) to a mere AED 60 (16.3$) annually, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported. This insurance policy covers the workers’ entitlements in terms of end of service benefits, vacation allowance, overtime allowance, unpaid wages, worker’s return ticket and cases of work injury, in which the insurance coverage amounts to AED 20,000 per worker.

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WAM said, “the newly created scheme secures workers’ rights in the private sector and reduces the burdens on employers. It allows businesses to recover approximately AED14 billion, representing the value of current guarantees paid by employers, which will enable them to further invest in the development of their business. The system also enhances the ease of doing business in the UAE, which effectively contributes to market prosperity and growth.”

A number of visa facilitations for visitors, residents, families and people overstaying their visa to cater for a wider segment of the society are also being adopted. A review of the current residency system took place, and will now allow a two-year extension of the residency period for the dependents of their parents after finishing their university studies.

Furthermore, transit passengers will now be exempt from all entry fees for the first 48 hours. Transit visa can be extended for up to 96 hours for a fee of only AED 50. Obtaining transit visa will be facilitated by a number of express counters at the passport-control hall across UAE airports, WAM reported.

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In the same context, the Cabinet adopted a decision to grant people overstaying their visa a chance to leave the country voluntarily without a “no entry” passport stamp. A new 6-month visa will be introduced for job seekers who overstayed their visa but wish to work in the country. The temporary visa enhances the UAE’s position as a land of opportunities and a destination for talents and professionals.

As for individuals who entered the UAE illegally, they will have the chance to leave voluntarily with a “no entry” stamp for two years given that they provide a valid return ticket.

Moreover, in a step aimed at simplifying the process and easing the financial burden on individuals wishing to adjust or renew their visa, they can now do so for a fee without having to leave and re-enter the country.

Firoz Merchant, founder and Chairman of the Pure Gold Group said, “The UAE has always welcomed the world with open arms and offered the platform for millions of people from all over to build their careers and lives. The new visa rules announced by the Cabinet of UAE further enforces the nation’s standing as a highly competitive economy, offering professionals and workers more opportunities for personal growth and well-being.  It will enhance the nation’s access to talent – especially youth – and promote its ease of doing business.”

“The new rules are also humanitarian in their outlook as it offers a second chance for people who have overstayed as well as makes it easier for people to transfer their visa status. This will come as a great relief for many and will add to the overall positivity of the nation. The new rules are also comprehensive in strengthening the overall economy, especially the relaxation in rules for transit visitors – which will boost the tourism, hospitality, FMCG and retail sectors.”

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Mark Anthony Karam
By Mark Anthony Karam
Mark Anthony Karam has 3 years of experience in the field of visual and written media, having earned his Masters degree from the UK. You can get in touch with him here: [email protected]