Sep 20, 2012

Interior Ministry denies ban on tourist visas


DUBAI: A top Ministry of Interior official has denied reports of a ban on tourist visas for unskilled workers.
Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation and Residency, and Ports Affairs at the Ministry of Interior, said residency departments across the country were processing visit visa transactions for applicants following “standard procedures”.
The official denied earlier reports that visitors from some Asian countries — such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines — will be required to submit university diplomas alongside applications for tourist, visit and conference visas to the UAE.
Al Menhali said these reports are false. “Any new procedures would be announced to the public and posted on the ministry’s website or released to the media by the Security Information Department,” the news agency WAM quoted him as saying.
Earlier, citing an unnamed federal official, local media reported that new rules for issuing visit, tourist and conference visas would apply to a certain category of applicants from mostly Asian countries as part of an ongoing crackdown on human trafficking and begging in the UAE.
The clampdown, the report said, was part of a “new regime” aimed to check the influx of low-paid workers who end up begging on the streets or pose security threats to citizens and residents.
The unnamed official said that visit visa applicants must have enough money to cover their visit and obtain health insurance.
Al Menhali said such reports came from “unofficial” sources and were “unreliable”.
Meanwhile, most typing centres in Dubai said they were doing business as usual.
“We have not received instructions from the authorities about any visa rule changes,” said Mohammad Ebrahim, manager of Quality General Services, whose typing centre is visited by hundreds of applicants daily. “The requirements are the same.”
Typing centres are the first stop for visit visa applications, attending to thousands daily.
Business as usual
“We’re not aware of any stricter visit visa rules,” said Nehal Ahmad, manager of Darwish Shakeel, a Bur Dubai typing centre. “We have not been told to implement or ask for additional papers from applicants.”
Nisar of Fenoje Typing Centre, said: “There are no new restrictions for visit visas,” said Ahmad.
Ahmad, however, has said that stricter rules requiring expatriates to present a Dewa bill, a tenancy contract validated by the Ejari system and a two-bedroom apartment when applying for a residency visa for a next-of-kin or housemaid visa has significantly cut down on the number of applications.
“Applications for this category are down by 40 per cent. Our business is down. But we have to adhere to the rules.”

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