Nov 24, 2009

Four-day Eid holiday for banks

Abu Dhabi: Banks in the country will remain closed for four days from November 26 to 29 to mark Eid Al Adha, according to a statement issued by the UAE Central Bank yesterday.

Banks will also get a two-day holiday on December 2 and 3 to celebrate the National Day.

The Central Bank's department that handles banking operations will work on November 30 and December 1 to serve banks as usual.

Public sector holidays announced for Eid Al Adha

Abu Dhabi: Ministries and federal bodies will remain closed from Thursday, November 26 to Thursday, December 3 to mark Eid Al Adha and National Day, according to a circular issued by Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education and Chairman of the Federal Human Resources Authority.

The extended break for Eid Al Adha and National Day was announced in line with the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Ministries and federal bodies will resume work on December 6.

Al Qutami seized the opportunity to thank Shaikh Khalifa for his noble initiative linking the Eid holiday to the National Day holiday.

He congratulated the President and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Ruler of the Emirates, and the UAE people on the glorious occasion.

Al Qutami also congratulated the Arab and Muslim nations on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the private sector will get a three- day holiday from November 26 to 28 to mark Eid Al Adha, and one day on December 2 for the National Day, according to a circular by Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour.

Work will resume on Sunday, December 3.

Private sector holidays announced for Eid Al Adha

Abu Dhabi: The Eid Al Adha holidays for the private sector will be from 26th November to 28th November, while the UAE National Day holiday will fall on Wednesday the 2nd of December.

Minister of Labour Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash issued two ministerial circulars announcing the holidays for private sector on the occasion of the Eid Al Adha and the UAE National Days.

According to the first circular the private sector will have a three day paid holiday on the occasion of Eid Al Adha beginning from Thursday 26th November until Saturday 28th November.

The second circular announced a one day paid holiday on 2nd December on the occasion of the 38th UAE National Day.

The minister offered his greetings to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of emirates and the people of UAE on this occasion and prayed to God Almighty to shower His blessings on the Arab and Islamic nations.

Government employees to get salaries before Eid

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Finance has announced that salaries of federal government employees and pensioners will be transferred on Sunday, before Eid Al Adha.
Those receiving social assistance from the Ministry of Social Affairs will also receive their payments on Sunday.

November 27 first day of Eid Al Adha

Wednesday is the first day of Dhu Al Hijja. The 9th day of Dhu Al Hijja is the day of Arafat, which falls this year on Thursday, November 26.

Accordingly, Friday, November 27 will be the first day of Eid Al Adha.

Dubai government salaries on November 22

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered that salaries of Dubai government employees be paid on Sunday, November 22, on the occasion of Eid Al Adha.

He instructed the Ruler's Court to take the necessary procedures to implement the order on time.

Getting ready for Eid

Eid Al Adha marks the annual completion of the Haj, the pilgrimage to Makkah, and it occurs two and a half months after Eid Al Fitr, which celebrates Ramadan’s end.

Eid Al Adha is an occasion to visit relatives and friends. Gifts of money or clothes are given to children.

Selfless devotion

Historically, the festival marks the prophet Ebrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isma’il when God ordered him to.

Ebrahim and Isma’il set off to Mina. On the way, the Devil tried to dissuade Ebrahim but was driven away. As EIbrahim prepared to kill his son, God stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead.

As they celebrate this festival, Muslims remind themselves of their submission to God and their willingness to sacrifice anything for His wishes.

During the festival, Muslims sacrifice domestic animals such as sheep, camel and goat as a symbol of Ebrahim’s sacrifice. The meat is distributed among family, friends and the poor, each getting a third of the share.

“We pay for a goat to be sacrificed so the meat can be donated to a poor community — even they can have an Eid celebration,” said Dedra Stevenson, an American Emirati and the author of the Hakima’s Tale series.

“It’s tradition to wear something new. It’s considered a new beginning.

“When people go for the Haj, they are forgiven for all their sins. So they start anew,” she said.

Festive facts

When is it?

This year, the public holiday for Eid Al Adha will begin on Saturday, November 28, and continue for four days.

What do Muslims do to celebrate the holiday?

On the first morning of Eid Al Adha, Muslims attend morning prayers in a mosque. This is followed by visits to family and friends and the exchange of greetings and gifts. Then the family visits a local farm or make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal.

Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?

During the celebration of Eid Al Adha, Muslims remember Allah has given them power over animals and allowed them to eat meat but only if they pronounce his name during the act of taking life. Thus they are reminded life is sacred.

The meat from the sacrifice is mostly given away to others. The act symbolises the willingness to give up things that are of benefit to them or close to their hearts to follow God's commands.

Extended break for Eid and National Day

Dubai: Public and private schools will remain closed from Dhu Al Hijja 9 to December 3 to mark Eid Al Adha and the National Day, according to a decision issued by Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education.

Eid Al Adha which falls on Dhu Al Hijja 10 is expected to fall either on November 27 or 28, depending on sighting the new crescent. The National Day is on December 2

Schools will resume classes on December 6.

The ministry said it was keen to give enough holidays to enable the faculties and students in all the educational districts in the country to observe the 38th National Day in the best possible manner.

The ministry praised the efforts made by educational districts and schools to celebrate the National Day and instill a sense of national identity and enhance the loyalty of the younger generation towards the nation and its leadership.

Nov 5, 2009

Exemptions made to visa validity rule

Dubai : There will be a few exemptions to the rule which states that staying more than six months out of the UAE will automatically cancel residency visas, said a senior Ministry of Interior official.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, told that according to the UAE residency federal law people with valid residents' visas in the UAE who leave the country for more than six months will have their residency visa cancelled and must apply for new visas to enter the country again.

"This is not a new rule and everyone should be aware of it. No one can stay outside the country more than six months then try to enter the country without a valid residency visa," he said.

However, Major General Al Merri, said there are exceptions to this rule in which people in specific circumstances will be allowed to enter the country even if their stay exceeds six months abroad.

As an exception to article (61) of the UAE federal residency law, the residency permit will continue to be valid until the end of its term for residents under specific categories.

He said the foreign wife of any Emirati who is on the sponsorship of her husband can enter the country even if she has exceeded her stay outside the country for more than six months.

He also said domestic helpers who are accompanying an Emirati studying abroad will not lose their residency visas even if their stay outside the country is more than six months.

Also domestic helpers or those who escort an Emirati for treatment abroad will not have to apply for a new visa and can enter the country with the same visa even after six months of staying abroad.

Medical treatment

"An expatriate who resides in the UAE and was sent for treatment abroad and exceeds their stay more than six months can enter the country with the same residency visa. But that expatriate patient must be working at a government department in the UAE or must be sent abroad for treatment by a government department in the UAE," he said.

He said those who go on their own will not be allowed to enter the country after their stay outside the UAE exceeds six months and they must apply for new visas.

He said expatriate patients and their escorts who are travelling or sent for medical treatment abroad and who hold valid residence permits, must provide medical report approved by the Ministry of Health or the Medical Services of the Armed Forces or Police.

He said another category are domestic helpers who are accompanying members of diplomatic and consular missions representing the country abroad, and employees of such missions holding residents visas in the UAE.

Also expatriates working for the public sector who were sent by their employers to attend training or specialist courses, or those working in their employers' offices abroad, and their families who holding valid residence permits in the UAE

Major General Al Merri said another category that can exceed their stay outside the country for more than six months are expatriate students studying in universities or institutes abroad.

Major General Al Merri said it is recommended that people under these categories inform the airport authorities before their arrival to ease the process of entry.

Residency body: Change of name

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, said that upon the directions of the Ministry of Interior and taking effect from this week the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department's name has been changed to the Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Acting Deputy Assistant at the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Borders, told Gulf News the names of residency departments have had some changes as each department will no longer be called the naturalisation and residency department rather it will be the General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs. Naturalisation departments are separate departments and no longer part of the residency departments. Passport control, which used to be part of the residency departments has also been separated from the residency departments, he said.

UAE residence visa re-entry rule enforced

Dubai: Staying outside the UAE for more than six months will automatically result in the cancellation of residence visas and expatriates must then obtain new visas to enter the country again," said a senior official from the Ministry of Interior.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of Dubai Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, told that according to the Federal Residency Law the residence permit granted to a foreigner shall be deemed as cancelled if the period of his/her stay outside the UAE exceeds six months.

"This is not a new rule and everyone should be aware of it. No one can stay outside the country for more than six months and try to enter the country without a valid residence visa," he said.

He said earlier this rule was not enforced strictly and expatriates with valid residence visas could re-enter the country by filling out a form at the airport.

The ministry has now decided to adhere to the rule strictly at all entry points in the country, he added

However, Major General Al Merri said there are exemptions to this rule in which people under specific circumstances will be allowed to enter the country even if their stay exceeded six months abroad.

Ban to stay on Arab domestic workers

Dubai: The ban on recruiting Arab domestic workers will not be lifted soon because sponsors put them in jobs other than those specified in their visas, said a senior Ministry of Interior official.

A circular was recently issued to all residency departments in the country banning recruiting Arabs as domestic helpers or personal drivers.

Brigadier Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Director General of the General Naturalisation and Residency Department (GNRD), told that Arabs cannot be recruited to work as domestic help such as maids, cooks, personal drivers and other similar jobs.

"Many Arab residents and Emiratis sometimes try to recruit an Arab domestic helper which is not allowed," Brig Al Menhali said.

He said Arabs usually come to work in specific job categories in the private sector, but cannot work as domestic help according to the UAE residency law.

Brigadier Al Menhali said there are citizens of specific nationalities who can be recruited as domestic help such as Filipinos, Indonesians and certain other Asian nationals but not Arabs. He said some sponsors apply for domestic helper visas for an Arab national, but they make the person work elsewhere in different jobs.

Brigadier Al Menhali said some Emiratis married to Arab women try to bring the relatives of the wife on domestic helper visas and let them work elsewhere. "Such practices affect the job market and it also lead to illegal residents who work for somebody else other than their sponsors," he said.

Brigadier Al Menhali said Arabs come to work in professional jobs not as domestic helpers.

Many Arab nationals and Emiratis object to banning recruiting Arabs as domestic helpers. They believe it is an unfair decision.

Samar, an Egyptian pharmacist who lives in Sharjah, said, "We cannot employee someone from a different world who knows nothing about us."

Saif issues directives for biometric UAE passports

The travel document will have high security and technological features.

Abu Dhabi: Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has issued directives for issuance of an e-passport of the UAE.

The travel document will have high security and technological features at par with international standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Shaikh Saif issued the directives on the occasion of conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Interior and Emirates Computers for this purpose.

Security

Major General Mattar Al Neyadi, chairman of the higher committee of the e-passport, said they will feature high security properties and contain a biometric chip for personal data.

Emirates Computers and its German partner won the contract for the e-passport system.