Nov 27, 2011

UAE issues mission visas for short-term jobs

DUBAI: Expatriates planning to work for a short term or on probation can enter the UAE with a 90-day mission visa.

According to the UAE law, people with visit, transit or tourism visas are not allowed to work or obtain a work permit in the Gulf state.

“We do not have labour permit under the category of probationary [employment] and people who enter the country for visit cannot work at all here,” the paper quoted Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director-General of the Ministry of Labour as saying.

People caught working with visit visas will be deported and banned from entering the country forever. The sponsors of companies involved in illegal employment will face a penalty of Dhs 50,000 for each such worker, he added.

However, the sponsoring company can apply for a mission visa at the Ministry of Labour, which also issues a temporary work permit.

The temporary work permit is also issued for those already living in the UAE on residence visas on a case-by-case basis.

"Mission visa is valid for entering the country for 60 days and the employee can stay up to 90 days after entering the UAE. This kind of visa is renewable once for another period of 90 days after which the expatriate holding the mission visa should leave the country," Bin Deemas was quoted as saying.

People who enter the country on mission visas should secure the mission card from Ministry of Labour, Bin Deemas said, adding, people on mission visa can convert it to work permit and continue to work.

Nov 22, 2011

Dubai Airports Flash Mob

Sharjah book fair from November 16 to Nov 26



The Government of Sharjah has granted a total of $300,000 (Dh1.1 million) to the International Book Fair's translation centre during the upcoming book fair.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Ahmad Bin Rekadh Al Ameri, Director of Sharjah International Book Fair, pointed out that even though the translation centre is a key feature every year at the book fair, "this year is different because in celebration of the 30th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, we will translate books not only from Arabic into other languages but vice versa as well."

The Centre for Translation will serve as a platform to provide publishing houses with translation grants, networking and educational programmes.

The 30th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair is held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and will run from November 16 to 26.

The fair will also feature a "rights table" on November 14 and 15, where publishers and businesses can discuss proposed grants for rights sold during this event.

Top authors

The ten-day annual book fair is recognised as one of the most significant book fairs in the Middle East and the Arab world, as this year it draws 750 publishers, showcases books from 42 countries, and expects to attract more than 400,000 visitors from both trade and consumer markets.

"A total of 137 UAE publishing houses will participate at the book fair, and all Arab countries except for Libya will be participating," said Al Ameri, who added that the event will feature up to 260,000 titles in various languages.

More than 50 international publishers from more than 16 countries have confirmed their attendance. The programme will also be attended by Arab publishers from across the region keen to build their networks with international publishers. As part of this year's celebration, Saudi Arabia has been invited as the fair's Guest of Honour, and the cultural focus will be on India.

Al Ameri said, "There will be more than 20 top Indian publishers and there will be a showcase to highlight the presence of ten distinguished authors," including Dr Shashi Tharoor, Shobhaa De and Chetan Bhagat.

In addition, this year's book fair will offer a Live Cookery Show 2011 programme that comprises 32 recipes across the world. Some world-renowned authors participating include crime writer Peter James, New York Times best-selling novelist Kate Mosse, and award-winning historian George Goodwin.

$100m traffic technologies upgrade in Abu Dhabi



ABU DHABI - Minimum $100 million will be spent in Abu Dhabi to improve and modernise traffic technologies.

Plans to bring transport and traffic up-to-date were announced during the opening of the two-day Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) Middle East conference being organised by the Abu Dhabi Police (ADP) and Abu Dhabi Municipality on Tuesday.

“There are over 30,000 kilometres of roads and bridges in the UAE and we are now bringing the latest ITS to cope with the increase of traffic and population,” said Major-General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director-General of Police Central Operations.

According to studies, ITS technologies have the ability to reduce road accident deaths by 40 per cent and to improve traffic movement by 30 per cent. A special committee put in place by the Ministry of Interior three years ago have been working on choosing the best and most suitable of these technologies for the country’s roads.

Abu Dhabi emirate, especially the capital, where the population and traffic are the most dense, is already installing new traffic systems.

“Abu Dhabi depends on a specific mobility pattern heavily reliant on light vehicles, as the share of public transport does not account for more than seven per cent of total mobility requirements,” said Abdulla Al Shamsi, Executive Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Assets at the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City.

“Such a situation gives rise to several traffic woes and pressures as seen in the rising number of vehicles on roads and traffic congestions, which negatively impact road infrastructure as well as the overall environment,” he added.

The Abu Dhabi government began the development of ITS in the 1980s by building traffic light networks, CCTV monitoring systems and traffic control centres. In these past decades, the city’s municipality has put in place nearly 120 signal junctions, 160 surveillance cameras, a central traffic control unit, built a 200km-long optic fibre network, and deployed 90 cameras to catch motorists jumping red lights.

“Presently, there are 250 new signal junctions as well as surveillance devices deployed in areas under development on Yas, Reem, Saadiyat, Al Sawah and Raha Beach, coupled with the construction of three traffic control centres in these areas,” said Al Shamsi.

“The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, in cooperation with the Department of Transport, has been working on several intelligent traffic system projects, which will be implemented shortly,” he mentioned.

Examples of these include setting up a light signal network in Mohammed bin Zayed City, introducing Virtual Messaging Signs, expanding the CCTV camera network, upgrading the traffic and control systems on Abu Dhabi island and deploying fixed electronic traffic counters, which are all part of the $100-million budget.

ID cards made mandatory for traffic services in UAE



Abu Dhabi/Dubai: The National ID card has been made mandatory for expatriates to access traffic and licensing services across the country except for Dubai emirate, senior officials said.

It is already mandatory for Emiratis across the country and expatriates in Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah to access the Ministry of Interior Services, including traffic and licensing services, since November 2009.

The ID card is compulsory for expatriates in Abu Dhabi to access some of the traffic department services since August 2010. "But all traffic and licensing services in Abu Dhabi will require the ID card now," Dr Ali Al Khoury, Director-General of Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID), told Gulf News on Monday.

In Dubai, the ID card will be made mandatory from December for expatriates working in government and semi-government organisations, in order to obtain traffic services. But it will be mandatory for all expatriates in Dubai to access traffic services by mid-2012. The deadline for expatriates in Dubai to apply for ID cards is May 31, 2012. "The Emirates ID card is already a must for UAE nationals for traffic and licence procedures. From December 1, this will be extended to all the expatriates working in government and semi-government offices too," Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of the Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) Licensing Agency, told Gulf News yesterday.

Ministry services

"By mid-2012, all expatriates will need an Emirates ID card for all RTA transactions," he said.

Brigadier Gaith Hassan Al Za'abi, Director-General of Traffic Department at the Ministry of Interior who announced on Saturday that the ID card will be mandatory across the country for obtaining traffic and licensing services, clarified that a receipt of the ID card application procedure will also be accepted.

Al Khoury said the authority has asked the executive councils of all the emirates to make ID cards the official identification document for all official transactions. So Emiratis and expatriates can produce ID card for official transactions instead of family books and passports [respectively], Al Khoury said. He said the ID card mandatory norm for traffic services was to have been implemented in Sharjah yesterday (Sunday). But the traffic department officials in Sharjah were not available for comment to confirm this yesterday.

Processing applications

In Abu Dhabi, those who open a fresh file to undergo driving tests and process applications for a driving licence [after passing the test] and car registration have had to present their ID cards since August 2010. Services such as renewing existing driving licences and vehicle registration also require the ID card now.

The CEO of the RTA said the decision to make the ID card mandatory for services is being done in phases to avoid strain on the system. The ID card will be made mandatory from January 2012 for all municipality transactions.

Director General of Sharjah Municipality Sultan Al Mualla said that expatriates and UAE nationals working in government and non-government organisations will be required to present the municipality with their ID card.

Dubai Shopping Festival




Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) takes place every winter with its mammoth array of discounts, competitions, prizes, fireworks and entertainment. DSF offers amazing shopping discounts, attracting holiday makers from around the globe keen on grabbing a bargain. The festival began in 1996 as an initiative of the Dubai government to promote trade, and it gets bigger and better every year. DSF is not only a retail festival, but also a family festival with a large focus on mall-based entertainment and early evening shows.

Its continued success is proven by the large number of tourists from not only the GCC but also the rest of the world.

Traditionally, the festival runs from mid-January to the end of February and it kicks off with a huge opening night that features light shows and fireworks across the Dubai Creek, which are then continued throughout the entire festival.

Other events associated with DSF range from in-mall fashion shows, musicians, street performers, jugglers and other entertainers.