Somalis hit hard by entry ban

DUBAI - The recent decision to stop issuing entry visas to Somalis by UAE authorities has adversely affected the Somali community that has been expanding constantly for the last five years due to their growing business interests in the country.

By Afkar Ali Abdullah

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Published: Thu 13 May 2004, 9:57 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:24 PM

Somalis residing in the United Arab Emirates said that nobody knows the reason for the ban.

Some people were surprised when they went to the immigration department and were refused visas for their relatives.

Even the visa applications submitted before the ban have been cancelled and the documents were returned back to the applicants with visas rejected.

A source at the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) confirmed that their counter staff was notified not to receive any visa applications from Somalis, until further notice.

Khaleej Times spoke to a number of Somalis residing in the UAE who claimed that they did not know the reason behind the sudden ban. Mohammed Yarow Abubakr Mayo, Consul-General of the Somali consulate refused to talk on the issue with the Press.

He said that he did not receive any official information about the ban.

Mohammed Nawer, executive member of the Somali Business Council said that the Somalis play a great role in the flourishing trade in Dubai.

"They have businesses in textiles, gold, hotels, computer, money exchange, and livestock imports. They contribute effectively to the development of trade exchange between Dubai and Somalia."

"They should not be banned from entering the country because they contribute a great deal to the economic development of this country. The ban will also harm the interests of Somali businessmen who considered UAE as the main source of exporting items to their country."

"After this ban, the import of livestock and leather from Somalia to UAE - which has been the main business of Somalis, and which has been practised even before oil exploration, will stop completely."

"So many Somalis depend on the money generated from trade business between the two countries, and they will suffer a great deal as a consequence of the ban."

Ahmed Nour said, "There must be a reason behind such a ban. Although it will prevent me from meeting my family, I don't blame the UAE authorities."

Hussain Ali, a Somali of Fujairah, said that nobody knew the reason for the ban.

Quite a few Somalis were surprised over the ban as quite a few visa applications submitted before the ban too were cancelled, the documents returned and visas rejected.

Ahmed Adam, working in a livestock import and export company at Al Hamriya Port, said that the ban will harm export of livestock. The meat of slaughtered goats, which are air freighted each week to the Gulf countries, mainly to the UAE, will decline if the ban is imposed for a long time.

Al Mansouri said that the decision would adversely affect his company which delivers frozen meat to the UAE.

Shaikh Jamal said that Somalis who come to Dubai to seek better medical treatment would now suffer due to the ban.

"I thank God that I brought my father who suffers from a severe illness to receive good care and treatment here before the ban," he said.

Khadeeja, a housemaid, said that her residence visa was about to expire and her sponsor will not be able to issue her a new visa to come back to UAE to make money that will help her support her poor family in Somalia.

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