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Cultural Test for Residency Visa Seekers

Adel Arafah (
KT Exclusive) / 7 July 2009

ABU DHABI - Expatriates applying for residency visa in future will be tested in their knowledge of local culture. The resolve follows the Federal National Council calling for immigrants to have better awareness of UAE values and traditions.

Ahmed Shabeeb Al Dhahiri, First Deputy Speaker of the Federal National Council, told Khaleej Times a committee would be established by October to develop strategies to improve understanding of the country among expatriates.

The Council asked the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development to take steps to familiarise residents and immigrants with the country’s national identity, culture, social values, religion and local traditions.

“Too many people don’t know anything about our culture — there are many nationalities — and every resident needs to know something about this country,” Al Dhahiri said.

The committee will comprise members from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Al Dhahiri said the committee will draw up a series of easy questions that will comprise a test that expatriates must pass in order to get their residency visa.

He said questions could include the following: “What is the country’s official religion?” and “What is the country’s flag?’

The committee will also establish a guide to the country’s traditions that will be issued to local embassies and consulates and also to their domestic counterparts.

Al Dhahiri said foreign community associations can also educate their members on the customs, traditions and culture of the UAE, enabling them to better deal with UAE citizens.

The support of the media would also be sought to raise cultural awareness levels among expatriates.

adel@khaleejtimes.com

Do you think a Cultural test would help expats in knowing, understanding and valuing the culture of UAE?

Yes, I agree with this pre-requisition. Practically, if we interact with many expatriates present in UAE nearly two third of them do not have the basic knowledge about culture, religion and humanitarian values of this anti-racist, pluralistic and one family one world theme of United Arab Emirates. So, it is more useful to educate already living UAE expats. -  Ahmed Ansari, Al Ain 

Good suggestion, other nationals have very few knowledge about the religion & culture of UAE. Also UAE nationals live with their own communities and they are not much involved with other nationals. So this decision is a good move from the Authorities to introduce themselves to the world. - Mujeeb, Dubai 

Yes, it is important to know about local culture in any society to live in a socialized manner but to make it compulsory for getting residency or work permit does not sound well to me. I am comfortable with the remarks written by the Nirup from India. - Muhammad, Dubai 

I agree with Nirup.  There is no harm in educating expats on culture. It should not be made as a test. A booklet with the cultural knowledge should be given at the time of giving residency Visa. Usually cultural test should be compulsory for citizenship and not for residency or work permit. - Nishanth, Dubai 


I do agree with this pre-requisite. If you plan to live here as a resident, a basic uderstanding of the UAE culture is very much needed. – Pramod, Dubai 


There is no harm in educating expats on culture. It should not be made as a test. A booklet with the cultural knowledge should be given at the time of giving residency Visa. Usually cultural test should be compulsory for citizenship and not for residency or work permit. – Nirup, India 

 

 
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