A picture take on September 14, 2017 shows people walking at Dubai's International Airport . / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE
As per the new law, residents who overstay their visas can leave the country voluntarily without a “no entry” passport stamp.. Guiseppe Cace / AFP

UAE's new lenient visa overstay laws to take pressure off welfare groups



The UAE’s new visa legislation will lighten the load on consulates and welfare organisations that pay penalties on behalf of residents with expired visas to ease their return home when they lose their jobs.

Sweeping reforms to the country’s visa and labour insurance laws, announced last week, have been welcomed as a humane approach showing more leniency and compassion towards residents who have overstayed their visas.

On Monday, the UAE Cabinet approved a resolution that established a three-month grace period for “illegal residents” to change their visa status and apply for a one-year stay permit.

Ali Mohammed bin Hammad said the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, of which he is chairman, would launch a ‘Protect yourself by modifying your status,’ initiative to implement Cabinet’s decision.

“Those who have such a status won't face legal consequences, will be exempt from fines,” he said, according to Wam, the state news agency.

The measures have been widely appreciated.

“These are welcome changes and will help the community greatly. We get a lot of overstay cases where people do not have money and still stay here. In many instances the consulate had to pay the fines through the Indian community welfare fund,” said Mr Vipul, Indian consul general in Dubai.

“India being the country with a maximum number of workers here, this will help our community a great deal.”

The Indian Community Welfare Fund offers short term food and accommodation allowance, air-ticket at government cost for their repatriation to India, initial legal assistance and emergency medical help.

As per the new law, residents who overstay their visas can leave the country voluntarily without a “no entry” passport stamp.

Previously, visa overstay offenders were dealt re-entry bans but this penalty was removed on June 13.

The legislation also replaced the Dh3,000 bank guarantee per worker that companies were required to deposit for each new hire.

Instead, low income workers will be protected with a Dh60 per worker annual payment employers will make as part of a low-cost insurance policy. The maximum payout has been capped at a Dh20,000 per worker which will cover end of service benefits, holiday allowance, unpaid wages, return air ticket and any work injury.

“The consulate can pay for a return ticket if someone loses their job and can also provide them with sustenance for a few days, but what the consulate cannot do is we do not have provisions for paying salaries, that is not the function of the consulate,” Mr Vipul said.

“If workers are protected by companies moving from bank guarantees to an insurance scheme at a nominal rate that will cover unpaid wages and end of service benefits, this will be of great benefit to the workers.”

The Indian consulate has provided tickets to 157 Indians in Dubai and the northern emirates to return home so far this year and provided legal counselling, guidance on visa overstay and cancellation of visas.

Of the 2,696 people who approached the Philippines mission for help between January and April, it has helped repatriate 642 people and distributed $250,000 from the Assistance to Nationals funding that includes plane tickets home.

The Assistance to Nationals fund covers repatriation costs, living and medical expenses of distressed Filipino workers.

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Read more:

UAE Cabinet's visa announcements: what has changed?

UAE Cabinet approves new labour insurance system to replace bank guarantees for workers

New labour insurance scheme will delight companies and protect workers

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India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines make up the countries with the highest number of expatriates living and working in the UAE. The UAE is among the top 10 countries including the US, Germany, Saudi Arabia and UK hosting the largest cross-section of international migrants, as per 2016 United Nations figures.

In most cases, residents overstay their visas when they lose their jobs or their company shuts down. While awaiting final clearance of wages, fines build up as their legal documentation expires.

The reforms introduced a six-month visa for job seekers who have overstayed their employment visa but want to continue working in the UAE.

Philippines Consul General Paul Cortes said the recent measures enhanced the UAE’s position as a country of opportunity and a destination for talented professionals.

“It certainly is a positive development because it gives people a chance and opportunity to realise their goals for themselves professionally as well as reach their vision of a prosperous future for their family. It makes the UAE attractive and a magnet for talented people,” he said.

“The new laws on overstaying will also have a considerable impact as far as financial allocations to assist our nationals in distress are concerned. The laws point to the progressiveness and forward looking mentality of the leadership here and are very welcome.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Afghanistan fixtures
  • v Australia, today
  • v Sri Lanka, Tuesday
  • v New Zealand, Saturday,
  • v South Africa, June 15
  • v England, June 18
  • v India, June 22
  • v Bangladesh, June 24
  • v Pakistan, June 29
  • v West Indies, July 4
Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

SCHEDULE

Saturday, April 20: 11am to 7pm - Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Festival and Para jiu-jitsu.

Sunday, April 21: 11am to 6pm - Abu Dhabi World Youth (female) Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Monday, April 22: 11am to 6pm - Abu Dhabi World Youth (male) Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Tuesday, April 23: 11am-6pm Abu Dhabi World Masters Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Wednesday, April 24: 11am-6pm Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Thursday, April 25: 11am-5pm Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Friday, April 26: 3pm to 6pm Finals of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Saturday, April 27: 4pm and 8pm awards ceremony.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Clinicy
Started: 2017
Founders: Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman, Abdullah bin Sulaiman Alobaid and Saud bin Sulaiman Alobaid
Based: Riyadh
Number of staff: 25
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding raised: More than $10 million
Investors: Middle East Venture Partners, Gate Capital, Kafou Group and Fadeed Investment

The five types of long-term residential visas

Obed Suhail of ServiceMarket, an online home services marketplace, outlines the five types of long-term residential visas:

Investors:

A 10-year residency visa can be obtained by investors who invest Dh10 million, out of which 60 per cent should not be in real estate. It can be a public investment through a deposit or in a business. Those who invest Dh5 million or more in property are eligible for a five-year residency visa. The invested amount should be completely owned by the investors, not loaned, and retained for at least three years.

Entrepreneurs:

A five-year multiple entry visa is available to entrepreneurs with a previous project worth Dh0.5m or those with the approval of an accredited business incubator in the UAE.  

Specialists

Expats with specialised talents, including doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, and creative individuals working in the field of culture and art are eligible for a 10-year visa, given that they have a valid employment contract in one of these fields in the country.

Outstanding students:

A five-year visa will be granted to outstanding students who have a grade of 95 per cent or higher in a secondary school, or those who graduate with a GPA of 3.75 from a university. 

Retirees:

Expats who are at least 55 years old can obtain a five-year retirement visa if they invest Dh2m in property, have savings of Dh1m or more, or have a monthly income of at least Dh20,000.

Common OCD symptoms and how they manifest

Checking: the obsession or thoughts focus on some harm coming from things not being as they should, which usually centre around the theme of safety. For example, the obsession is “the building will burn down”, therefore the compulsion is checking that the oven is switched off.

Contamination: the obsession is focused on the presence of germs, dirt or harmful bacteria and how this will impact the person and/or their loved ones. For example, the obsession is “the floor is dirty; me and my family will get sick and die”, the compulsion is repetitive cleaning.

Orderliness: the obsession is a fear of sitting with uncomfortable feelings, or to prevent harm coming to oneself or others. Objectively there appears to be no logical link between the obsession and compulsion. For example,” I won’t feel right if the jars aren’t lined up” or “harm will come to my family if I don’t line up all the jars”, so the compulsion is therefore lining up the jars.

Intrusive thoughts: the intrusive thought is usually highly distressing and repetitive. Common examples may include thoughts of perpetrating violence towards others, harming others, or questions over one’s character or deeds, usually in conflict with the person’s true values. An example would be: “I think I might hurt my family”, which in turn leads to the compulsion of avoiding social gatherings.

Hoarding: the intrusive thought is the overvaluing of objects or possessions, while the compulsion is stashing or hoarding these items and refusing to let them go. For example, “this newspaper may come in useful one day”, therefore, the compulsion is hoarding newspapers instead of discarding them the next day.

Source: Dr Robert Chandler, clinical psychologist at Lighthouse Arabia

The biog

Mission to Seafarers is one of the largest port-based welfare operators in the world.

It provided services to around 200 ports across 50 countries.

They also provide port chaplains to help them deliver professional welfare services.

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

ENGLAND TEAM

England (15-1)
George Furbank; Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (capt), Elliot Daly; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Courtney Lawes; Charlie Ewels, Maro Itoje; Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Joe Marler
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Ollie Devoto, Jonathan Joseph

Three ways to boost your credit score

Marwan Lutfi says the core fundamentals that drive better payment behaviour and can improve your credit score are:

1. Make sure you make your payments on time;

2. Limit the number of products you borrow on: the more loans and credit cards you have, the more it will affect your credit score;

3. Don't max out all your debts: how much you maximise those credit facilities will have an impact. If you have five credit cards and utilise 90 per cent of that credit, it will negatively affect your score.

TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer
Christopher Celenza,
Reaktion Books

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


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