UAE: Restaurant offers free meals for visit visa holders, jobseekers

“We don’t have any terms and conditions for such people," the owner of the restaurant said


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 26 Feb 2023, 10:30 AM

Last updated: Mon 27 Feb 2023, 9:53 PM

A restaurant in Sharjah has been offering free meals to the poor for eight years and now it provides free meals to people who are on a visit visa as well.

“People who are jobless, or on a visit visa, or whose visas have expired can come to our restaurants in Muweilah and Saja, Sharjah, and we will provide them with a free meal. We offer this service to people in need, irrespective of any country they belong to. We receive people mainly from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Africa who lose a job and run out of money. They can come to us and just tell us that they’re on a visit visa and don’t have money,” said Shahid Asghar Bangash, owner of the Karachi Star Restaurant.

“We don’t have any terms and conditions for such people. They can order anything available on that day. We’ve also set a code word among restaurant workers for such people so we ask the staff at the restaurants to place an order for them so that it doesn’t hurt their self-respect and nobody else in the restaurant also comes to know about them,” he said.

This is one of the many eateries that have been offering food the people in need across the UAE. As reported by Khaleej Times traditional Egyptian restaurant Fatta Kawareh in Abu Hail has been offering a free meals to the poor.


In 2020, Indian couple Shujath Ali and his wife Ayesha Abrar also offered a leftover meal to blue-collar workers to feed around 8,000 needy people.

Another restaurant Yummy Dosa had also announced free meals to blood donors last year on the eve of World Blood Donor Day to show appreciation for the donors’ selfless act of helping others.

Shahid Bangash said people come to the UAE scouting for jobs but not everybody is lucky to land a job. “Many of them face difficult times until they get a job. So we help them by providing free meals three times a day and don’t ask for any proof of jobs,” he said.

He said some people visited the restaurant even for a month so there is no restriction on the number of visits.

Karachi Star owner revealed that this idea was floated by his late uncle upon the opening of the first restaurant in the Saja area.

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