Nov 29, 2016

New Guinness World Record set by GEMS Education students as UAE National Day tribute


To celebrate the 45th UAE National Day, 2,223 students from GEMS Education schools in the UAE, gathered to form the ‘World’s Largest Transforming Human Image’ and set another Guinness World Records title in the process.
With a majority of students coming from Our Own English High School, Sharjah Girls, all the students were dressed in the colours of the UAE flag, and they created an image of an open hand and then transformed into the iconic three-fingered salute introduced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
The three-finger salute created by the Dubai Ruler in February 2013 during the Government Summit in Dubai, symbolising ‘Win’, ‘Victory’ and ‘Love’, is an innovative trademark to inspire youth in work, ethics, success and love of the nation.
The record was validated by Guinness World Records officials at the GEMS Modern Academy sports grounds.

Dino Varkey, Managing Director and Board Member, GEMS Education, said: The UAE has transformed itself over the last 45 years into a dynamic modern nation that is admired by the rest of the world for its ability to evolve and change with the times.
By creating the ‘World’s Largest Transforming Human Image’ we wanted to pay tribute to the rulers of the UAE for their visionary leadership which served as a catalyst for the growth GEMS Education in this land.
“We want to thank our parents, teachers, students and the government authorities for their support and enthusiasm in creating such a memorable occasion.”
This is the third world record attempted by students of GEMS Education and the second record that they have created as a category.
Previously in 2015, GEMS students paid tribute to the UAE for National Day by creating the record for the world’s largest human sentence. In 2014, students of 119 nationalities from GEMS Education sang the UAE national anthem at one time, creating a new world record.

Dubai breaks another 'Guinness' World record



The crowning achievement to an already great week witnessed Dubai breaking the Guinness World Record under the guidance of The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai and The Good Move initiative, part of Dubai Plan 2021 launched earlier this year in partnership with Emirates and Meraas promoting health and fitness to all members of the community; the event was in partnership with TechnoGym and UAE Cycling Federation and for the most mechanical energy produced in one hour, generating 8.999 watts.
‘Pedal to Guinness World Record’, saw 300 participants cycling for one hour on 100 stationary bicycles while results and updates were reflected on the tallest building in the world ‘Burj Khalifa’.
This thrilling, event was open for participation to all members of the community, Saturday November 26, 2016 at The Innovation Hub in Burj Park Downtown Dubai on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard.
he previous record for the most mechanical energy produced in one hour by pedaling on static bicycles is 8,369.8 watt within an hour, at Stoke Park in the United Kingdom.

ENOC open modern service station at Dubai Academic City



To fulfil the demand for a gas station in the Dubai International Academic City area, ENOC opened a new service station designed to provide customers with optimal fuelling time and the most modern facilities to date.
The opening marks the launch of ENOC’s service station expansion programme aimed at building 54 service stations over the next four years to deliver on the Group’s strategic direction to expand its operations and invest in the infrastructure required to facilitate the nation’s growth and its growing energy needs.
Commenting on this occasion, His Excellency Saif Humaid Al Falasi, Group CEO of ENOC, said: “Our service station expansion programme is part of ENOC’s wider growth strategy over the next few years to cater to the growing demand of our valued customers. We continue to innovate in implementing new technologies to promote sustainability, enhance customer experience and ensure the highest standards of health and safety.
“Earlier this year we announced our retail expansion plan that falls with ENOC’s long-term strategic objectives which are aligned with the Dubai Plan 2021 of creating a ‘Smart & Sustainable City’ for ‘Happy, Creative & Empowered People’. With the opening of the Academic City service station we are delivering on that promise and supporting the city in its preparations for major events such as Expo 2020.”
The new station offers ENOC’s customers several unique services which ease their refuelling experience.
The entrance and exit to the station were designed to implement the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) guidelines for safe manoeuvring of vehicles and to reduce traffic on the exit road, thus easing congestion within the station.
New pump dispensers contain a fuel system designed to have maximum flow rate as per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) safety standards which is an international standard for safety as fuel stations.
To factor in the waiting time inside the service station, dispensers are built with retractable hoses to enable refuelling cars from both sides to reduce waiting period.
A double wall fuel piping with automatic fuel leakage detection and secondary containment also safeguards any environmental contamination.
“The site is built to best global practices in the retail fuel industry with full retail automation and modern construction standards. We have adhered to the new Dubai Municipality compliance for Green Build regulations and invested in a number of solutions to enhance energy efficiency and resource management. The Academic City service station is a model of a sophisticated service station that makes our customers’ lives easier and minimises environmental impact,” added Al Falasi.
Various energy conservation and green initiatives have been implemented with the innovative Vapor Recovery System (VRS) which prevents fugitive emissions during refuelling vehicle.
The VRS technology also works when ENOC tankers are filling in the underground tanks in order to maximise recovery of emissions at the station.
Other energy-saving include full LED lights installed at the site reducing energy consumption by 50% compared to conventional stations. 
The station also uses the VRF technology for the air conditioning (AC) system which saves 35% compared to conventional package AC system.
On the retail front, a modern touchless automatic carwash and water recycling system, which uses recycled water for 80% of water consumption, enables faster and efficient methods for vehicle cleaning services.
Other retail facilities at the station include ZOOM convenience store with Pronto, Autopro, Papa Murphys Pizza, Popeyes Chicken and McDonald’s, offering ENOC’s customers a variety of selections.

How much UAE visa will cost after increase



Abu Dhabi: Effective on Friday, the employment visa for a worker sponsored by governmental bodies will cost Dh200 per year, while the visa charge for workers employed by the private sector or free zones will be Dh250 per year.
A new visa fee structure signed by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, states that the residence visa for an investor or partner will cost Dh250 per year.
The residence visa for a family member of a worker employed by governmental bodies will cost Dh200 per year, while the charge for workers employed by private businesses and free zones as well as investors and partners of businesses will be Dh250.
Renewal of the residence visa will cost Dh200 per year for a family member of a worker employed by governmental bodies, private sector or free zones, while the renewal charge for investors and partners will be Dh250 per year.
The entry permit or its renewal for domestic workers sponsored by Emiratis or citizens of GCC countries will cost Dh150 per year, while the charge for workers sponsored by foreigners will be Dh200. The visa for a domestic helper sponsored by an investor or a partner will cost Dh250.
The new measures will include the issuing of a new array of entry permits and visas, such as multiple entry permits for visit or work; the activation of study visas, and entry permits for medical care and attending conferences.
A multiple tourist entry permit will cost Dh200, while multiple entry visa for work will cost Dh2,100.
A visit visa for residents in GCC countries will cost Dh200, while its renewal will cost Dh700.
An entry permit for study or training will cost Dh550, while its renewal will cost Dh600.
An entry permit for medical treatment will cost Dh550, while a multiple entry visa for treatment will cost Dh1,400. The same fees will be applicable to patients’ companions.
The renewal of a visa for treatment will cost Dh500, while the charge for the companions will be Dh600.
The transit visa issued to travellers transiting through UAE airports for 96 hours and sponsored by an airline operating in the country, will cost Dh100.
A Dh5,000 refundable deposit will be collected for cancelling a sponsor’s residence visa without cancelling the visas of the sponsored family members, according to the decision signed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The deposit will be refunded once the sponsor adjusts their status.
A Dh3,000 refundable deposit will be collected for sponsorship of each family member for a female investor, while a Dh5,000 refundable deposit will be collected for humanitarian cases determined by the Minister of the Interior.
The new Cabinet decision sets up a fund for the deportation of violators of the residency rules. Resources for the fund will come from deposits encashed after applicants fail to honour their obligations under the law.
A Dh100 fine will be imposed on users of residency department portals who fail to fill in applications accurately, according to the new rules.
Individual applicants who fail to honour any declaration or affidavit will be fined Dh500, while in the case of a corporate applicant the fine will be Dh2,000.
Companies that fail to adjust the legal status of their sponsored workers on time will be fined Dh1,000 for each worker, while failure to report any change in the company’s details to the ministry will cost Dh1,000.
A Dh5,000 fine will be imposed on those who misuse the residency system or submit bogus reports to the residency departments across the country.
Repeat offenders within a year will have their fines doubled, not exceeding Dh50,000.

Quick list: Types of visas and fees
Employment Visa (Government): Dh200
Employment Visa (Private Sector, Free Zones, Investors): Dh250
Residence Visa (Government) Dh200
Residence Visa (Private Sector, Free Zones, Investors): Dh250
Employment Visa (Domestic workers sponsored by Emiratis, GCC citizens): Dh150
Employment Visa (Domestic workers sponsored by residents): Dh200
Employment Visa (Domestic workers sponsored by investors): Dh250
Residence Visa for real estate owners: Dh1,100
Multiple Entry Visa for work: Dh2,100
Visa for medical treatment: Dh550
Multiple Entry Visa for treatment: Dh1,400
Residence Visa for study or training: Dh550
Multiple Entry Visa for work or tourism: Dh1,500
Entry Visa for GCC State Resident’s Companions: 150
Renewal of GCC State Residents Companions’ Visa: 250
Entry Visa for GCC State Residents: Dh200
Renewal of GCC State Resident’s Visa:Dh700
Transit Entry Visa: 100

Visas on arrival in UAE for Chinese visitors



Dubai: Chinese visitors to the UAE will now be granted visas on arrival, the Cabinet announced on Sunday.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, has a burgeoning and increasingly prosperous middle class that is travelling abroad in numbers greater than ever before.
“We have approved a decision to grant visas on arrival at the country’s airports to visitors from the People's Republic of China,” said His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai.
“Our relations with China are strategic and a priority,” he added in remarks published on his official Twitter account.
Chinese tourists previously had to obtain visas before travelling to the UAE.
The UAE has invested billions of dollars over more than a decade to put itself on the map as a regional business and tourism hub.
Among the UAE’s seven emirates, Dubai is the most attractive for tourists.
More than 14.2 million people visited Dubai in 2015, but the target is 25 million by 2020 when the Gulf emirate hosts the global trade fair Expo 2020.
In February, officials said 450,000 Chinese visitors made the trip to Dubai in 2015, in a 29 per cent increase over the previous year.
Apart from citizens of its five Gulf neighbours, nationals of 47 countries - most of them Westerners - can obtain a visa on arrival to the UAE.

Emirates offers fares as low as Dh680 for National Day



Dubai: UAE residents planning to go on a holiday soon can make big savings on airfares with Emirates’ National Day promotion, which offers rates as low as Dh680.
The special fares apply to economy and business class flights to popular destinations in Europe, the United States, Far East and South Asia.
They can be purchased for trips between December 1, 2016 and June 15, 2017. The promotion, however, expires in 10 days. 
“On the occasion of National day, Emirates is offering travellers in the UAE excellent fares to some of its popular destinations,”the airline said in a statement on Monday.
For those booking economy class, return fares can go as low as Dh680 for passengers bound for Kuwait, Dh850 for Mumbai, Dh910 for Karachi and Dh1,520 for Istanbul.
Economy fares for Cebu/Clark/Manila, Bangkok and London start as low as Dh1,710, Dh1,790 and Dh2,150, respectively.
For those planning to visit Tokyo, fares can start from Dh3,020, while those bound for New York and Fort Lauderdale, rates are as low as Dh3,330. Special business class fares start from Dh2,490.

Top return fares from Dubai to:

Muscat: 700
Athens: Dh1,820
Singapore: Dh1,620
London:  Dh2,150
Cebu/Clark/Manila:  Dh1,710
New York: Dh3,330
Moscow:  Dh1,950
Karachi: 910
Chennai/Kochi: Dh920
Amman: 990
Melbourne: Dh3,890
Bangkok: Dh1,790
Kuwait: Dh680
Mumbai: Dh850
Kuala Lumpur: Dh1,480
Istanbul: Dh1,520
Boston: Dh3,830
Doha: Dh650
Delhi: Dh930
Nairobi: Dh1,160

Note: Fares expire in 10 days

Indian passport centres to double in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah



Abu Dhabi: The number of centres providing Indian passport and visa services in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah will double from early next year, a top Indian diplomat told Gulf News on Monday.
The embassy will select two companies [instead of the existing one] that will open additional service centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, where a large number of passport and visa applications are handled on a daily basis, said Neeta Bhushan, Charge d’Affaires at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
The number of services centres to be operated in these three emirates will be divided between two companies and customers can choose the one in accordance with their convenience, she said.
“We expect a healthy competition between two companies, which will improve the efficiency and quality of services,” Bhushan said.
The lone service centres in other emirates will continue except two in Kalba and Khorfakkan that will be closed due to low number of customers, she said. “There are only one or two customers in Kalba and Korfakkan on most of the days.”
A new centre in Musaffah in Abu Dhabi will cater to thousands of blue-collar workers living in the industrial area and Indians in the Western Region of the emirate.
As Gulf News reported on October 3, the embassy had extended the three-year term of BLS International Services Ltd, the outsourced agency currently handling the Indian passport and visa applications, until January 2017. The official said the embassy opened a tender on Monday to select the two companies and the last date for submission of proposals would be January 9, 2017. The details are available on www.indembassyuae.org.
The new companies are expected to start their operations in February, Bhushan said.
She said the embassy decided to increase the number of service providers, considering the large number of Indians in the UAE. An estimated 2.6 million Indians are living in the UAE.
The two Indian diplomatic missions in the UAE issue around 300,000 passports a year, Bhushan said. The Indian Consulate General in Dubai that caters to Dubai and five other northern emirates issue 240,000 passports and the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi 60,000 passports a year.
Both the missions issue 74,000 Indian visas a year, Bhushan said.
Asked about any changes in services charges, the official said the companies would be selected based on the lowest bids offered by them and it would be looked into at that stage only.
Currently, BLS International is charging Dh9 as service charge for passport related transactions, apart from optional courier charges to deliver the passport. The applicants also pay Dh6 towards Indian community welfare fund set up by the embassy to help Indians in distress.
A committee constituted by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and headed by Bhushan is in charge of the bidding process to select the companies. A senior official of the Ministry, the Consul General of India in Dubai and other officials from the embassy and the consulate are members of the committee, which will select the new service providers on consensus, she said.

Revamp in passport, visa services

Existing number of centres to double in Abu Dhabi (from 1 to 2), Dubai (from 2 to 4) and Sharjah (from 1 to 2).

Two companies to offer services instead of the existing one (BLS international).

Customers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah can select the centre of their choice for service.

A new centre in Mussafah in Abu Dhabi will cater to thousands of blue-collar workers living in the industrial area.

Centres in Kalba and Khorfakkan will be closed due to low number of customers.

300,000 passports a year issued by Indian missions in the UAE.

240,000 passports a year issued by the Indian Consulate in Dubai.

60,000 passports a year issued by the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

74,000 visas a year issued by the Indians missions in the UAE.

President Khalifa orders release of 1,102 prisoners on 45th UAE National Day



Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the release of 1,102 prisoners on the occasion of the 45th UAE National Day.
Shaikh Khalifa’s gesture aims to offer the released inmates a chance to start a new life and bring joy to their families.

New 62km Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway opens



Abu Dhabi: A new 62-kilometre highway connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been officially inaugurated on Tuesday (November 29) by Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and is now open to motorists.
The highway has been named Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Street, and it extends for 62 kilometres before joining Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road or E311.
The name was unveiled at a ceremony that saw Shaikh Hazza, Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and other government officials in attendance.
Officials at the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, which regulates transportation in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, said the new route will ease congestion on the existing road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Road (E11).
The new stretch of highway has been constructed by Musanada, a government-owned firm that provides contracting, construction and facilities management services to public entities, at a cost of Dh2.1billion.
It consists of four lanes in either direction with a total of eight lanes, and can carry up to 8,000 vehicles per hour.
To ease traffic flow traffic, there are six interchanges along its 62-kilometre stretch.
Two petrol stations, one on either side of the road, are also under construction at present, and are expected to be opened by the third quarter of 2017.

National Day holiday on December 1 and 2


Abu Dhabi: The National Day and Commemoration Day holidays for the public sector will begin on December 1, Thursday, with work resuming on December 4, Sunday.
The private sector’s holiday will be on December 1 and 2.
The holidays were announced through circulars issued by the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources and Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
The authority and Ghobash extended their 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 the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, and the people of the UAE.

UAE leaders pay tributes on ocassion of Commemoration Day


Abu Dhabi: The anniversary of the nation’s martyrs will remain present in the memory of generations and immortal in the conscience of the UAE people, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said.
In a statement released on the occasion of the second Commemoration Day, which is marked yearly on November 30, Shaikh Khalifa said: “We, in our unified house, are capable of preserving and protecting the nation, which our forefathers founded on the values of charity, generosity, advocating for what is right, and standing with the oppressed.”
He added: ‘’Our martyrs will also remain the source of dignity, glory, and a beacon for generations, and their families and children will receive from us, and from the state and community, full care and attention.
“On this glorious day, we treasure the values of sacrifice and love for the nation and we highly honour and pay profound gratitude and reverence to the heroes of national duty who wrote with their pure blood the epic of dignity and glory. We pray to Almighty Allah to shower mercy on their souls and extend deep thanks to their families.”
The UAE leadership from across the country has paid tributes to the heroes. Rulers of the emirates conveyed the statements in their speech to Dira’a Al Watan (Nation Shield) magazine.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Shaikh Mohammad has released a statement expressing his tribute to those who have sacrificed their souls defending the nation, the Emirati martyrs, the bearers of the principles of virtue and dignity, who have pledged their lives defending the rights of their homeland and nation.
In a statement to Dira’a Al Watan on the occasion of Commemoration Day, Shaikh Mohammad said: “Today, we gather as leaders and peoples of the nation to salute our heroes, to honour their memory, and to also remind everyone that their sacrifices will forever be remembered in our hearts and minds.”
He added: “Our martyrs’ loved ones are just as precious to us as our own, and their noble goals, for which they have sacrificed their lives, will be held as a badge of honour until the end of time.”
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed has said that the UAE has forged its way into existence through meticulous planning, hard work and unceasing sacrifices, adding that marking Commemoration Day is a gesture of respect and appreciation for the families of the martyrs, and an expression of commitment that the UAE stands by its people at all costs.

Sales, concerts and fireworks await you this weekend in Dubai

Dubai: From jaw-dropping sales to concerts and fireworks to carnivals, Dubai’s got you spoilt for choice on where to go on this National Day holiday.
Dubai is all set to celebrate the country’s 45th birthday with a line-up of events and activities that will allow residents and visitors the opportunity to experience the “Spirit of the Union” and reflect UAE’s solidarity across its culturally diverse community.
Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), is organising the citywide celebrations with its partners including shopping malls and retailers. The celebrations feature family-centric social, cultural and entertainment activities, as well as events aimed at showcasing Emirati culture and customs.
Malls will be transformed into entertainment centres with free-to-attend concerts featuring Arab music icons.
The National Day Super Sale will run from December 1 to 3, offering customers amazing price discounts of between 30 and 90 per cent on a range of merchandise — from apparel to electronics, and much more.

DUBAI Travel Guide | National geographic Documentary 2016 - Best Destina...

Nov 28, 2016

Beware of car conmen using dud cheques in Dubai


Dubai: Indian expat K.M. Basheer, who works as a pickup van driver with a logistics company, had bought his dream SUV with the savings he earned over the past 20 years.
Today, however, his dreams are shattered as he was duped by bogus car buyers, who fled with his vehicle after giving him dud cheques.
Basheer has warned potential vehicle sellers against this new modus operandi of vehicle thieves.
Narrating his experience to Gulf News, Basheer said he bought a used Land Cruiser Prado in mid2014 for Dh130,000.
“I did not take any loan. It was my hard-earned money. I bought it for my family as my kids loved this vehicle,” said Basheer, who draws a salary of Dh4,000.
However, Basheer found it expensive to maintain it and decided to dispose it and use that money for constructing his house back in Kerala.
“I placed an ad for selling the vehicle on Dubizzle after I decided to send my family back home. I thought of using that money for building our home.”
He said one potential buyer, an Emirati, requested to meet him to see the vehicle and negotiate the rate. “I had asked for Dh110,000 and he settled for Dh108,000. Another man, Khalid, who introduced himself as the first guy’s brother, had also joined us by then.”
He said the duo took him to Tasjeel office in Al Ghusais and handed him Dh15,000 in cash. “Then they said I can register the car in Khalid’s name and the other guy will bring the balance amount by the time we finish the registration process.”
The latter’s so-called brother, however, did not return saying he had to rush to the hospital as his wife had fallen ill.
“Then Khalid gave me a cheque for the balance amount and took the vehicle.”
Though Basheer went to the nearby police station raising his apprehension about a potential cheating by the buyer, he said, he was told to try to cash the cheque first.
However, the cheque bounced the next day, proving Basheer’s fears true. “Khalid still gave me hope saying he will put another cheque against my account and he did that too. But, my bank called me saying that was also a dud cheque.”
Khalid’s phone was switched off after that and Basheer later found out that his SUV had already been exported to a neighbouring country.
He has registered a case with Al Ghusais Police station, the head of which has also cautioned residents against the new tactic of car thieves.
Dubai Police has reportedly received seven such cases in recent months including that of an Arab man, who conned a woman into handing her Mercedes car.

Bad debts in Dubai: Can expats return without getting arrested?


Dubai: If you’re one of those hundreds of borrowers who once fled the UAE for failing to settle mounting loans, the doors are still open for you to come back and start your expatriate life again – without landing behind bars.
According to legal experts in the UAE, there are still ways to secure another employment opportunity in the emirate, even if you’ve once been a runaway.
The risk of getting arrested at the airport, however, is high – especially if there is still a police case pending in court or an arrest warrant is waiting - so it’s better to plan your return.
Back in 2009, when the global economy fell into a recession, a significant number of expatriates who racked up huge debts running into several hundreds and thousands of dirhams, absconded without repaying their banks or lenders. A lot of these expatriates now want to return to the UAE, to seek employment opportunities.
Returning Dubai expats who think they have a police case filed against them are strongly advised to do some research before traveling to Dubai, or even passing through the airport.
“If an expat has an ongoing police complaint against them, there is a risk they will be arrested and detained upon arrival in the UAE, even if only transferring flights,” noted Paul Hughes, legal director of commercial litigation at Addleshaw Goddard Middle East.
Tourist visa
Even if you have secured a tourist visa to Dubai, it doesn’t guarantee you free entry into UAE, either. “If the former resident was able to secure a visit visa to UAE, it does not follow that he has no pending criminal or police case,” added Barney Almazar, director at the corporate-commercial department of Gulf Law Middle East, Philippines and United Kingdom.
“The authorities will be more than happy to grant him a UAE visa, so he can voluntarily ‘surrender’ when he enters the country. A visa will be denied if the applicant with a pending police case is inside the country. But if the applicant is outside the country, it will be approved.”
The main goal of the absconding expat is to have all police complaints lifted first. This can be achieved by getting in touch with their respective lenders.
According to Hughes, any expat may be able to negotiate a settlement with their creditor in exchange for the withdrawal of a police complaint. In most cases, the bank or lender will ask the borrower to pay the outstanding balance/s in full. Making the bank agree to an instalment plan could also be an option.
Settlement agreement
“If an agreement can be reached, we would recommend entering into a formal settlement agreement which, among other things, directs the creditor to withdraw its police complaint once the debt has been satisfied,” said Hughes.
“Any debtor would be advised to await a written confirmation that the arrest warrant/police case has been withdrawn before traveling.
If it’s not possible to negotiate with the bank while you’re outside the country, hiring the services of a lawyer in the UAE would be a good option.
Hughes recalled a case of an expat who had sought their assistance over bad loans.The Indian national had left the country with a trail of unpaid debts. His creditors had filed complaints at three police stations and a standing warrant of arrest had been issued.
"We were instructed to meet with the creditor at each of the police stations to satisfy the debt in full. In return, each creditor withdrew their complaint and the arrest warrant was lifted within 24 hours. That individual subsequently returned to Dubai and started working again,” Hughes told Gulf News.
Easier approach
Almazar said it is actually easier to arrange for “waiver of interests and penalties” if the borrower is outside the UAE because there is no “immediate threat of imprisonment.”
“They can appoint a representative in the UAE who can negotiate a settlement with the bank. The representative can likewise clear their names with the police and immigration once the clearance and release documents have been issued by the bank,” Almazar advised.
“A settlement agreement under the letterhead of the bank, stamped and signed by the bank’s officer is a must before making any payment. This will ensure that the bank has authorized the waiver of penalties or reduction of outstanding balance.”
Those who fail to negotiate with the bank may request for the Central Bank assistance.
Settling debts shouldn’t just be the concern of returning expats. Even if you choose not to go back to the UAE, it is still a good idea to clear all your debt, because the long arm of the law can still reach you.
Almazar said that banks can pursue the claim in the expat’s home country or in places where the borrower has assets to cover for the unpaid liability.
“Once the UAE court has issued the decision, the UAE police may only execute the decision within the country. Thus, the bank will have to request the debtor’s home country court to recognize the decision of the UAE court.”
“This procedure is known as the recognition of foreign judgment. Once the local court has recognized the foreign decision, the local police will be able to execute the decision against the debtor.”
Hughes said that if a very large amount is involved, banks or lenders will find ways to go after the concerned borrower outside the UAE. Creditors can obtain a “money judgment” from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) courts that can be enforced overseas. This is applicable to countries that have forged a memorandum of understanding with the DIFC courts for “mutual recognition and enforcement of monetary judgments.” These jurisdictions include England and Wales, Singapore, New South Wales (Australia) and China, according to Hughes.
“A judgment from the UAE Courts for a debt may also be enforceable in a debtor's home country depending on that country's approach to enforcing foreign judgments and whether any bilateral treaties are in place with the UAE for the enforcement of judgments.”
Tips for loan absconders who want to return to Dubai:
1.) Check if there is a police complaint or arrest warrant against you. You can instruct a lawyer or representative in UAE to do this.
2.) Don’t travel to or make a quick stopover at Dubai airport. Passengers with flight connections to UAE face the risk of getting arrested if there’s been a case against them.
3.) Negotiate with the bank/lender in order to lift any police complaint or arrest warrant.
4.) If it’s difficult to get in touch with the creditor, find a representative in UAE who can negotiate a settlement with the bank. If the bank is uncooperative, seek the Central Bank assistance.
5.) If a police complaint has been filed, the authorised representative will then meet with the bank at the concerned police station to satisfy the debt in full.
6.) Ensure that the creditor will issue a settlement agreement:  printed on paper with the letterhead of the bank, stamped and signed by the bank’s officer. One lawyer advised that this document is ready before making any payment because this will attest that your creditor has waived the penalties or reduced/cleared your debt.

Free WiFi during National Day holidays


Dubai: Etisalat on Sunday announced that it will offer free WiFi in malls, restaurants and cafes in the UAE during the National Day holidays.
In a statement, Etisalat said: “All UAE residents can benefit from the promotion across major locations in the country including malls, cafes, beaches and parks from November 30 to December 3, 2016. “This is part of Etisalat’s 45th UAE National Day celebrations.”
The ‘UAE WiFi by etisalat’ service offers residents high speed internet access in more than 300 public locations.
To use the service connect to the UAE WiFi by Etisalat WiFi SSID signal and follow the registration steps.
After registration, etisalat will send an SMS with a PIN number to the user’s phone. The mobile number can be used as login ID while the PIN will be the password to access the free WiFi service.
To find the exact location of etisalat WiFi hotspots, customers can visit etisalat.ae/wifi or use the ‘Around Me’ interactive map in the etisalat app. 

India cash crunch hits expat remittances


Dubai: Almost 20 days after India demonetised widely used 500 and 1000 rupee notes, expatriates in the UAE are finding it hard to send money to their families back home due to the continuing cash crunch. Their families are unable to withdraw cash from banks since the announcement on November 8 when the currency notes that constituted 85 per cent of total liquidity were declared illegal tender.
“I sent money for my family’s monthly expenses, but my son is unable to withdraw money from the bank because of long queues,” said Shamseer Singh, 55, who works with an insurance company in Abu Dhabi.
He said many blue-collar workers from his state of Punjab depend on instant money transfers, which are very convenient for their families to collect from nearest post offices or shops. Most of the instant cash services have collection points in almost every village where there are no bank branches at all. “They are confused now how to end money,” Singh said.
The cash crunch has badly hit rupee remittance transaction to India through bank transfers and instant cash transfers, according to the staff at some money exchanges in Abu Dhabi.
Moreover, the situation has deprived Indian expatriates of an excellent opportunity to cash in on a record low exchange rate of rupees. Indian rupee fell to a record low of 68.86 against the US dollar on Thursday, making one dirham worth 18.7 rupees. On Sunday, rupee was around 18.58 against dirham, still there were not many customers to send money to India. A report said on Sunday that the rupee is expected to see further depreciation in the coming months and may breach the 70-level (against dollar) by December and touch 72.50 by the end of 2017, says a Deutsche Bank research report.
According to the global financial services major, post US-elections, EMFX (Emerging Markets Foreign Exchange) has seen a sell-off, which has also led to some weakening in the rupee.
“Whenever rupee goes down against dollar, there was a huge rush; but not now,” said a money exchange employee.
“We used to do at least 250 transactions of Indian rupee a day, which has gone down to between 70 and 80. Around 60 to 70 were instant money transfers to India, which have been reduced to six or eight a day because collection centres in India do not have currency notes to disburse to their clients,” he explained.
Money exchange house rely on small shopkeepers and post-offices for disbursal of cash remitted by expatriates. Rural population in India have limited access to banks and almost all transactions are done in cash.
The money exchange employee said workers from Northern Indian villages, where access to banking system is limited, mainly depend on instant cash transfers.
As Gulf News reported on November 17, this situation had left many expatriates helpless as they do not have any legal means to send money to family members back home for emergencies like hospitalisation.
 Smaller amounts
Confirming the continuing currency crunch at their collection points in India, Western Union said on Sunday that in addition to cash payout, they were facilitating direct to bank account services and providing consumers an option of receiving remittances via account payee cheques. “Meanwhile, our digital business is growing in India,” said Sohini Rajola, Managing Director and Regional Vice President, India and South Asia at Western Union.
Sudhesh Giriyan, COO of Xpress Money, said that despite a reported improvement in the situation in India, money transfer brands are still disbursing small amounts in cash, while higher amounts are given in cheques or through online bank account transfers. “We will return to normalcy in the next few days,” he said on Sunday.
Osama Al Rahma, chairman of the Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group (FERG) — an official platform of the companies engaged in the business of money exchange and remittances in the UAE, said currency crunch in India has affected the remittances. “I don’t have any figures to mention on what scale it has affected the transactions at the moment.” he said. But Indians are hesitant to send money home because of restrictions on withdrawals from banks. “What I understand is people in India can withdraw a very low amount of money at a time. As most of the Indians are sending money to banks in India, families cannot withdraw it in time. It is natural to affect transactions.”
Sudheer Shetty, president of UAE Exchange, however, said between 70 and 80 per cent remittance transactions to India are through banks and the remaining are through instant cash transfers.
Shetty said only middle class and upper class Indian expatriates in the UAE are waiting and watching, as they believe the rupee will fall further.
Even most among them have to send a certain amount every month back home to pay their loan or mortgage instalments and investment commitments, he said.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi are 'best cities' to live in: Mena survey


Dubai: Both Dubai and Abu Dhab


i are the Arab world’s best cities to live in, a new study has found.
The home of the world’s tallest tower and the capital of the UAE have earned the highest scores from residents who reviewed key cities in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in terms of economic, environmental, standard of living, socio-cultural and entrepreneurship factors.
The two cities are trailed by Muscat, Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia, Doha, Riyadh, Marrakech, Rabat, Jeddah and Kuwait City.
The 2016 Bayt.com “Top Cities in Mena” survey, which covered more than 1,400 respondents, found that Abu Dhabi and Dubai did well in terms of availability of jobs and cost of living, as they earned the highest scores in terms of economic factors.
On the happiness scale, both emirates impressed many of its residents, with more than three quarters of respondents from the two cities saying they are happy in their city of residence.
The two cities also emerged as winners in the labour rights category, which takes into account health insurance and social security systems, wage protection, end of service benefits and termination rights of residents.
About eight in ten (78 per cent) of residents in the region consider health insurance and social security as the most important components of labour rights. These are followed by wage protection (69 per cent), gratuity (68 per cent) and termination rights (68 per cent).
When it comes to the quality of standard of living, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have emerged as winners as well. Residents in the region consider the quality of safety, education and healthcare facilities as key indicators of a city’s living standard levels.
Other key considerations for choosing the best cities to live in are the level of crime rate, effective law enforcement, availability of parks, outdoor/sports activities, relaxation options and family-friendly activities. Residents in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi seemed pleased with these aspects, as the two emirates performed best in the socio-cultural category.
Residents in the region highly value the cleanliness of their surroundings, water supply and air. Among the cities surveyed, Dubai and Abu Dhabi appeared to have met the expectations of their residents, as they earned the highest scores in the environmental category.
When looking for places to settle down, people also consider how easy or difficult it is to set up a business, or whether or not taxes and fees are reasonable. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi again beat their competitors in these areas, scoring highest in the entrepreneurship category.