News Details

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

Date: Sun, 08 Jul, 2018

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

United Arab Emirates

Effective immediately, citizens of the following countries are eligible for visa-free entry into the United Arab Emirates:

  • Uruguay for stays of up to 90 days;
  • Honduras for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period;
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period; and
  • Brazil for stays of up to 90 days within a 12-month period.

Additionally, Indian passports holders with a valid residency visa issued by the United Kingdom or a European Union member country can now obtain a 14-day visa-on-arrival in the United Arab Emirates. The visa costs AED 100 and can be extended once for AED 250.


The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates has announced changes to the country’s visa system and employment regulations, including the introduction of an insurance scheme replacing the existing bank guarantees system in the mainland. Instead of a fixed deposit of AED 3,000 against every work permit application, employers will pay AED 60 annually per worker towards the insurance scheme.

Other highlights of the new provisions announced are as follows:

  • New legislation is under review that will allow dependents under parents’ sponsorship to extend their residency period for up to two years after having completed university studies;
  • Government fees for the first 48 hours of a visit visa for transit will be waived, and the travelers will be able to extend their stay for up to 96 hours by paying AED 50;
  • A new one-year permit will be introduced for women and their children residing without a visa sponsor due to certain circumstances including a divorce or death of their husband;
  • Nationals of countries affected by war or natural disasters will be offered an extendable one-year residency permit free of charge, effective from 1 August until 31 October 2018; and
  • An amnesty initiative called “Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status” will be launched in the coming weeks, aiming at allowing illegal residents to correct their immigration status.


The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced service fees and packages for recruitment of domestic workers through its dedicated Tadbeer Service Centres. Families and businesses recruiting domestic workers can choose from various packages, depending on their requirements, e.g.: employment of workers who are outside of the United Arab Emirates, employment of workers for a fixed six-month or 12-month contract or employment of workers on a monthly, weekly, daily or hourly basis. The packages are expected to be reviewed every six months.


The Ministry of Manpower issued a decision extending suspension of the recruitment of foreign national workers in 87 professions across various industries for another six months, starting from 30 July 2018. The suspension applies to 16 professions in the information and technology sector, seven professions in the engineering sector, four professions in the administration and human resources sector, among others.


The Royal Oman Police issued a decision amending certain provisions of the Foreigners’ Residency Law. The following are the most notable changes:

  • A 10-day visit visa for tourism has been reinstated, after the authorities removed it in 2017. The visa costs OMR 5, allows for a single entry and can be extended for additional 10 days;
  • Entry permits for select categories of visas, including visas for residents of other Gulf Cooperation Countries are now valid for one month from the date of issue;
  • Entry permits for select categories of visas, including agency-sponsored visas for tourism are now valid for three months from the date of issue;
  • Validity of entry permits for select categories of visas, including student visas and property owner visas have been reduced from six to three months from the date of issue;
  • Penalty of OMR 10 for overstaying visa conditions have been extended to all categories of visas; and
  • A right to sponsor domestic workers has been extended to foreign nationals working for a government entity in Oman.

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