News Details

Fragomen Worldwide - November News Flash

Date Posted: Sun, 10 Nov, 2019

Fragomen Worldwide - November News Flash



Immigration developments in the MENA Region



United Arab Emirates

During its latest session, the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates adopted several strategic resolutions to support the employment of Emirati nationals across different sectors. The key points of the Cabinet’s announcement are the following:

  • over 20,000 job opportunities will be created for Emiratis over next three years in important industries along with a special fund that will be formed to support training programmes for Emiratis.
  • the UAE’s labour and pension regulations will be amended to equalize benefits for Emiratis in government, semi-government and private sectors, which should make the private sector more attractive for local talent.

It is expected that executive regulations implementing the directives of the Cabinet will be announced by the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation in the coming months.

Qatar

The Qatar Ministry of Interior has changed the application process for Family Residence Visas. All such applications must now be submitted through the Metrash2 online portal.

Those seeking to use the online portal will need to purchase a SIM card under their name and obtain access to this system, which can take almost one to two weeks to be completed. This new application process does not apply to the Qatar Financial Centre, under which applicants are still subject to the manual application process.

Saudi Arabia

Effective immediately, foreign nationals seeking short-term work authorization in Saudi Arabia are unable to obtain a Work Visit Visa, following an unexpected decision by immigration authorities to replace the Work Visit and Commercial Visit Visas with a uniform Visit Visa for Business. Despite having a visa invitation letter for Work Visit Visas, applicants are issued Visit Visa for Business with the notification “not permitted to work”. This appears to be a practice in Saudi consular posts and visa service centres around the world. As a result, foreign nationals are unable to obtain short-term work authorization in Saudi Arabia at this time, as the only method for doing so was through a Work Visit Visa. It is unclear what, if any, impact there is on current Work Visit Visas holders whose visa was issued before the regulation came into effect.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) have issued a new set of rules requiring companies under its supervision including banks, insurance and financial technology firms, to abide by for recruitment and employment of individuals in leadership positions. Additionally, SAMA has adopted a list of 13 professions that are now restricted to Saudi nationals employed in financial institutions under its supervision, including the following job titles: Director of Human Resources, Director of Information Security, Information Technology Manager, and Compliance Manager. Companies under purview of SAMA are now advised to review recruitment and employment policies to confirm they are in line with the new regulations.

Kuwait

Foreign nationals holding visitor visas for Kuwait can change their immigration status in-country and obtain residence permits without having to exit Kuwait first, according to a new rule adopted by the Ministry of Interior. Previously, foreign nationals with visitor visas, including visas for tourism and those issued for dependents of residents in Kuwait, had to exit the country before they could obtain a residency status.

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