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No need to exit for visa change

By Sanaa Maadad / 11 February 2004

DUBAI - Starting from today, expatriates who entered on visit visas will be able to change their status to employment or residence visas without having to exist the country for a visa change as was the case until very recently, according to Colonel Saeed Mattar bin Bleilah, Director of the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department.

"The new development was introduced on the instructions of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Minister of Defence. It aims at facilitating the procedures of changing the legal status of visitors irrespective of their nationalities and professional categories," said Col. Bin Bleilah.

"Now visitors can adjust their legal status locally and they are no more compelled to exit the UAE, mainly to neighbouring countries, for a short time, in order to be eligible to enter on their fresh employment or residence visas," explained the Director of DNRD.

The change of visa status from a visit visa to employment was restricted to specific categories of professionals in the by-laws of the Federal Entry and Residency Law. According to the Article 41of the by-laws the change from a visit visa to an employment visas is only allowed  to eight categories. They are: Engineers; doctors, pharmacists, nurses and medical technicians; agricultural guides; teachers; qualified accountants and auditors; technicians working on electronic equipments and in laboratories; licensed heavy vehicle and bus drivers in addition to the workers in the private oil companies.

Those categories are allowed, according to the Article 42 of by-laws, to change the status of their visas if they obtain the approval of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs or other departments if they are to work in government bodies and provided they pay the fees for exemption from exiting the country as per the Cabinet's order No 6 of 1994.

However, Col. bin Bleilah told Khaleej Times that the new development in Dubai will allow any expatriate who entered on a visit visa to change to employment visas without leaving the country, regardless of his profession, even if he was a blue collar worker.

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