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Dubai Reforms Visa Status Regulations

Lorys Charambolous,, Cyprus

08 December 2000

The Dubai Ministry of Interior has decided to amend its visa regulations by allowing expatriates to remain in the country while they apply to change their status for a "Reforming Status" fee of Dh500.

This is welcome news for expats who previously had to leave the country before they could re-apply for a change of visa, particularly if they wished to change jobs because the employer of an expat is also their sponsor.

Furthermore, the Dubai government has also announced that it will empower all immigration departments throughout the UAE to adopt the new amendment regardless of the emirate in which the visa was issued. Before this there was a rigid scheme in place whereby the applicant was required to apply to the department where the visa was originally authorised.

Clearly this is welcome news for many expats, who previously had to fly out to a nearby country and back again in order to comply with immigration requirements. Any employee who works for someone other than his sponsor runs the risk of fines, imprisonment and/or deportation. And an employer discovered to have hired unsponsored staff is subject to a large fine.

The news may not be so welcome to the airlines, whose coffers have been swelled by expats flying out to neighbouring countries such as Kish Island, Iran or Bahrain - most would only need to leave the country briefly and would return the same day.


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