Thứ Sáu, 1 tháng 8, 2014

New visa fees affordable, say residents

New visa fees affordable, say residents

Nissar Hoath / 2 August 2014

Resident visa fee hiked by 100per cent; frequent visitors welcome transparency.

The message is, simply call 8005000 for new visa regime queries. “It’s not a six-million dollar question. The new rule is likely to come into force from tomorrow (Sunday) and there will be an official announcement that is yet to come,” said an official at the Ministry of Interior when asked about the new visa regulations.

The official said its toll free number has been receiving lots of queries since the news of the new visa rule surfaced in the media, especially social media. “We have been getting lots of calls from people worrying about hike in visa fees. Yes, there is a hike but that may not necessarily affect all. Most of the hikes are on employment visas that employers are bound to pay,” said the official, who did not want to be identified.

He also said the new system was at par with the international visa regimes applied in countries like Canada, the US, the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“The highest fee is levied on investor and the most frequent visitors’ visa who can afford. Otherwise the rest of the tariffs are affordable at the UAE earning and living standard levels,” he explained. However, the official said, there might be an impact on the fee paid by people for their dependents’ permanent residents permits.

“In this case, those who support large families might be affected. There are people having more than five or six children. That means, more than the double amount for renewing the resident permits. At present it is Dh100 per year per dependent. But with effect from Sunday, there will be an over 100 per cent increase if their employers do not bear the costs,” he said.

As per the UAE Labour Law, employers have to bear the cost of visa fee of the employee and the health insurance coverage of the spouse and two dependents below 18 years of age, and all the other costs, visa fee for children and their other document processing fees like national identity cards, are paid by the employee.

When asked about the changes, some of the corporate communication officers said it was not a big issue to worry about.

“The UAE is one the few countries levying the low visa charges both for residents and visitors. Now for a year it costs you only Dh100 for a resident visa. This fee, when compared to most developed countries, is at par and in most cases lower,” said Munir Al Rashidi, a young resident of Al Ain.

An Iranian frequent visitor to the UAE, Khalir Mohammed Baloch, said the UAE has always been his second home. “It costs me only one million tumun, that is about Dh2,000. It includes my visa, airfare and some pocket money. If I go to any other neighbouring country, it may cost more than Dh3,000,” he said.

Kahuda Hassan, another frequent visitor, from Gwadar in Pakistan, also finds the UAE the cheapest destination to visit with frequent and economic airlines operating between Karachi and most of the UAE destinations.

“I visit the UAE almost every month for business trips. I’m really happy with the new visa rule which is transparent with all kinds of visa fees fixed. I have been paying to agents for the trips with lots of money, but now with the fixed and transparent visit and business visa rules, the agents can no more cheat me,” said Kahuda, who lives on the Iran-Pakistan border and has business connections with Dubai.

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New visa fees affordable, say residents

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