Mixed reactions over new visa rules

DUBAI & ABU DHABI - The new visa rules, which came into effect yesterday, have drawn mixed reactions from those who visited the Immigration offices in the UAE.

By Mary Nammour & Ahmed Abdul Aziz

Published: Wed 30 Jul 2008, 2:07 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Apr 2015, 1:26 PM

While many visitors criticised the increased visa fee and lack of information about the new rules, others pointed out that mandatory health insurance and stringent action against illegal immigrants would be helpful.

Bushara Al Helo, manager of a printing services company who visited the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) yesterday, opined: "I understand the new visa fee is high, but if the new rule is going to prevent illegal migration, it would be great. I am aware of the overall picture, but still have to go through some details."

Dhakan Ratuvhai, owner of a jewellery shop, said the new rule would cause trouble for low -income people. "As the insurance cover along with the deposit has been made compulsory, it would be very difficult for the common man to apply for visit visas for relatives."

Alex Eiben, corporate legal consultant, said, "I once heard of a European man who had a heart attack during a visit to Dubai. As he did not have medical insurance he had to go to a private hospital where he underwent a surgery. When he recovered and he wanted to be discharged he was told that he owed the hospital a hefty amount. So he suffered another heart attack. Obviously, the insurance thing is a wise idea for the visitors' sake."

Xuhan Qing, a translator, said the public was supposed to be given a grace period. "They started to implement the new visa rule overnight. I think they should have first opened a counter at DNRD to provide the insurance cover before proceeding with the new system. Besides, apart from the hike in visa fees, people, who want to invite their next of kin and distant relatives or even friends as visitors, will be facing the insurance and deposit hurdle. It is not easy," he said.

Visa counters at Abu Dhabi  Naturalisation and Residency Department (ADNRD) did not witness a rush yesterday. However, the applicants faced confusion in the absence of a well-informed counter to provide them the full information on the new visa system.

Mathew Banacer, an Indian expatriate, said, "I came to apply for a visit visa to bring my son. However, the information counter wasn't of much help and I didn't know about the health insurance rule."

Khaled Abu Saif, an owner of a typing office in the capital, said, "I came today to ask about the new forms and the procedures because we haven't received the forms yet."

Mohammad Kamal, a PRO of a leading contracting company, said, “The hike is massive and it will hit the small firms. The regular visit visa (three months) used to cost Dh 200 but now the fee is Dh 1000 plus the refundable guarantee as well as the health insurance."



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