Exit rule waiver comes into force

ABU DHABI - Immigration departments across the country have started to waive the rule, which demands expatriates on visit visas to exit the country for change of visa status, Brigadier Hadher Khalaf Al Muhairi, Director-General of the General Directorate of Naturalisation, and Residence said yesterday.

By Muawia E. Ibrahim

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Published: Sun 15 Feb 2004, 11:39 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Nov 2023, 8:56 AM

He said the move came in line with the instructions of the President, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to annul the federal immigration rule. "We have immediately implemented the order issued by the President, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to waive the rule. All naturalisation and residence departments in the country are acting accordingly," Brig Muhairi told Khaleej Times.

He said at present a standard fee of Dh500 was temporarily being charged by immigration departments for exemption from exiting the country. New rules on fees and categories will be applied as per a cabinet decree, which is expected to be issued soon.

Shaikh Zayed instructed the cabinet on Tuesday to abolish the rule at the federal level. He also instructed the country's concerned authorities to put in place the necessary rules and regulations in that regard, while revenues collected from a stipulated fee on that should go to the government treasury.

Brig Muhairi said mechanisms to implement the presidential order were being studied by the department. He said the move was aimed at facilitating the procedures of changing the legal status of visitors who find jobs in the country, irrespective of their nationalities and professions. "Visitors can now adjust their legal status locally. They need not exit the country to their home countries or neighbouring countries in order to be eligible to enter on fresh employment or residence visas," he noted.

Only specific categories of professionals were till recently exempted by the law to change their visa status from a visit visa to employment without the need to exit the country. According to Brigadier Muhairi, the move was to streamline issuance of visit visas, which was misused by many visitors who overstay in the country. The regulations were to ensure that a visitor leaves the country after expiry of the period granted for his stay.

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