New one-year residencies for widows and divorced women explained

The changes come into effect in September

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, OCTOBER 8, 2015. Asmaa Zandaki, founder of Asmaa Zandaki Paint & Decor Contracting. 

With the support of her dad, Asmaa continued her bachelor's studies during her marriage. With an unsupportive husband, it took her almost 6 years to complete her studies. Now divorced and raising her two children, Asmaa opened her own interior design company. Reem Mohammed / The National (Reporter: Rezan Oueiti / Section: NA) *** Local Caption ***  RM_20151007_ASMA_07.JPG

Unemployed women living in the UAE whose marriages end in divorce and who have custody of children are now able to stay in the country thanks to a recent cabinet decision to grant them a one-year residency extension. Here's what you need to know about the new rules:

— Previously, women with no employment who divorced had their residency visa cancelled as they were no longer sponsored through her marriage to her now her ex-husband. They were given one month of notice by the residency department to find a way to stay in the country to take care of the children, or leave.

— Emirati Lawyer Yousef Al Bahar from Al Bahar and Associates said that as per law, the husband was compelled to sponsor his children, but did not have to sponsor the mother had the two separated. This put the children at risk.

— Widows were also given a period of 30 days to finalise all the arrangements and documents related to the death of their husband.

— While women had to deal with many financial burdens resulting from the death, the deceased’s end of service gratuity would help; however, in order to receive this money, she had to cancel the husband’s visa and along with it hew own and her that of her children.

— Now divorced and widowed women who do not have their own work visa are entitled to stay for one year with no sponsor, effective from September.

— “The visa changes spotted and dealt with a problem that affected numerous women,” said Mr Al Bahar.


Read more:

More visa changes: Widows and divorcees living in UAE to get one-year residency extension