News Details

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

Date: Tue, 27 Mar, 2018

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

United Arab Emirates

Immigration authorities have enforced the requirement for submitting a Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) by foreign nationals seeking employment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This requirement remains within its early phase of implementation therefore guidelines communicated by different authorities are inconsistent. The CGC must be provided by all foreign nationals seeking employment in the UAE, regardless of their nationality. The CGC must be issued by the relevant authority in the applicant’s country of origin or the country of their residence, no matter if the foreign national is currently inside the UAE on a visitor visa, or outside. Foreign nationals travelling under visitor visas, including tourist visas and visas-on-arrival, as well as dependents of foreign residents in the UAE, are exempt from the CGC requirement.

Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) issued revised regulations on penalties for employers who violate select labour law conditions, including fines of SAR 10,000 for not opening a company file with the MLSD or not updating company records, fines of SAR 10,000 for allowing foreign national employees to work in a profession other than the one specified in their work permit, and fines of SAR 10,000 for not submitting monthly salary files for the Wages Protection System purposes.  

Fines imposed by the MLSD must be settled by employers within one month from the issuance date, otherwise the amount due to the Ministry will be doubled.


Effective immediately, applications for express visas and visitor visas for tourism sponsored by an entity in Oman must be submitted through the Royal Oman Police electronic portal. Previously, over-the-counter applications were accepted by authorities. Employers are required to register with the electronic portal to facilitate the processing of select visa categories, including express visas.


The Ministry of Interior has introduced multiple changes to immigration regulations which affect holders of visitor visas, including reversing an exit visa process, including adding fines for the issuance of an exit visa after the expiry date of the entry visa, eliminating the ability to convert a single-entry visa to a multiple-entry visa in-country, and issuing entry visas based on approved invitation letters at airports for foreign nationals arriving in Iraq from abroad. The Ministry of Interior is also implementing a monthly reporting requirement for all employers who sponsor foreign nationals.

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