Business leaders welcome UAE’s sweeping new visa, foreign workers plan

Left to Right: Atif Rahman, Sudhakar Rao, Mr Imran Farooq, CEO, Samana Group

ABU DHABI — The United Arab Emirates unveiled on Wednesday new visa facilitation and new foreign workers insurance scheme

As part of the new insurance scheme workers’ guarantees have been reduced from AED3,000 per worker to AED60 annually per worker.

The new measures taken by the UAE government have been welcomed by business leaders in the country.

Reacting to the development, Atif Rahman, Partner and Director of Danube Properties, said: “The latest announcement reflects the UAE’s visionary leadership and pragmatic approach in accelerating the pace of economic growth. The decision to eliminate the AED3,000 bank guarantee will help release AED14 billion cash that was sitting idle, back into the economy and help private companies to re-invest in the economy for growth and development.

“The new visa rule will help the tourism, hospitality, exhibition, conference and extended stay sectors. It will also help the real estate sector a great deal as foreign investors will no longer worry about their visa, stay and the fees — all are being made flexible. We expect a solid flow of investment from foreign countries as the new announcement will boost investor confidence.

“The new moves will help the economy become more competitive and more flexible and will help in ease in doing business. A great move and the best Eid Al-Fitr gift for the business community.”

Imran Farooq, CEO of Samana Group of Companies lauded the decision taken by the UAE government to boost the economy. Farooq said: “UAE Cabinet decision of replacing the AED3,000 bank guarantee with insurance and other employee benefits and low-cost medical insurance will ease the companies doing business in UAE. Dubai’s AED14 billion and Abu Dhabi’s AED50 billion economic stimuli will further boost UAE economy. Reforms will enhance UAE’s economic competitiveness.

“The new legislative will bring in and retain quality talent in the UAE. Reducing burden on employers will allow them to reinvest and grow. We welcome the Cabinet decision.”

Sudhakar Rao, chairman of Gemini Property described the announcement as a game-changing move and will significantly reduce the cost of doing business.

“The release of the AED14 billion bank guarantee will help many companies to utilize for their business operations. Besides, the new visa rule will help companies to bring their international customers and visitors with less cost. It will help the exhibition, conference, business and leisure tourism sectors and help the tourist flow during the Expo 2020, said Rao.

“The latest announcements will definitely help businesses to bounce back and economic growth to accelerate, he added.

The newly created scheme secures workers’ rights in the private sector and reduces the burdens on employers. It allows businesses to recover approximately AED14 billion, representing the value of current guarantees paid by employers, which will enable them to further invest in the development of their business. The system also enhances the ease of doing business in the UAE, which effectively contributes to market prosperity and growth.

The new system aims to achieve a wider coverage of the rights and entitlements for the workers. The value of the insurance policy in the new system is AED60 per year for each worker and covers the workers’ entitlements in terms of end of service benefits, vacation allowance, overtime allowance, unpaid wages, worker’s return ticket and cases of work injury, in which the insurance coverage amounts to AED20,000 per worker.

The UAE Cabinet also adopted a number of visa facilitations for visitors, residents, families and people overstaying their visa to cater for a wider segment of the society. The government also approved a new legislative package, including a review of the current residency system to allow a two-year extension of the residency period for the dependents of their parents after finishing their university studies.

A new decision has also been approved to exempt transit passengers from all entry fees for the first 48 hours. Transit visa can be extended for up to 96 hours for a fee of only AED50. Obtaining transit visa will be facilitated by a number of express counter at the passport-control hall across UAE airports.

In the same context, the Cabinet adopted a decision to grant people overstaying their visa a chance to leave the country voluntarily without a “no entry” passport stamp. A new 6-month visa will be introduced for job seekers who overstayed their visa but wish to work in the country. The temporary visa enhances the UAE’s position as a land of opportunities and a destination for talents and professionals.

As for individuals who entered the UAE illegally, they will have the chance to leave voluntarily with a “no entry” stamp for two years given that they provide a valid return ticket.

Equally, in a step aimed at simplifying the process and easing the financial burden on individuals wishing to adjust or renew their visa, they can now do so for a fee without having to leave and re-enter the country. — Agencies