Battling an illegal influx,the UAE has decided to adopt a stricter visa regime for tourists from labour exporting countries like India and Pakistan,under which such travellers will now require a university degree to visit the rich Gulf state,a media report said today.
Besides India and Pakistan,the largest countries exporting labour to the Gulf nation are the Philippines,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The new regime bans visit visas for some workers,especially from traditional labour exporting countries to the UAE,and sets a university degree as a prerequisite for obtaining a visa,plus other requirements,a top immigration official told Gulf News.
The official said the move is aimed to better protect citizens and residents by preventing foreign criminals from coming to the UAE. Tourist visas are generally arranged through hotels and travel agents.
“The Federal Residency Department,which oversees residency departments across the country,has decided to adopt stricter regimes for tourist,visit and conference visas to curb the influx of blue-collar workers from many labour exporting countries into the country,” said the official.
Categories banned from obtaining tourist,visit or conference visas include electricians,pipe fitters,masons,farmers,drivers,tailors and cleaners. The requirements include round trip tickets,proofs of a confirmed hotel booking and and enough money to finance the stay.
The move was prompted by the recent arrests of scores of foreigners on tourist,visit and conference visas,who were either engaged in organised crimes,human trafficking or were found unemployed and looking for jobs or begging in the streets,or near hospitals,mosques and malls,the paper said.
“This would help significantly reduce the risk that individuals engaged in organised crime or the trafficking of persons could gain entry to the country.”
The UAE last reviewed its visa requirements for other countries in 2008,the report said.