News Details

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

Date: Tue, 08 May, 2018

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

Find out about the latest immigration developments in the MENA region.

United Arab Emirates

Job seekers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are no longer required to obtain permission from their existing employer to undertake part-time job(s), according to a decision issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The amended law also expands the categories of workers who can engage in part-time employment to UAE citizens and residents, as well as foreign nationals overseas, who hold a university degree or a diploma in any technical or scientific field.


Effective 1 April 2018, the United Arab Emirates Cabinet suspended its decision on implementing Certificate of Good Conduct as mandatory requirement for employment visas in the country. The suspension is in effect until further notice.


Effective immediately, citizens of Costa Rica are eligible for a visa-free entry into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for stays of up to 90 days, and citizens of Montenegro for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Travellers from both countries will receive an entry stamp upon arrival. Previously, nationals of Costa Rica and Montenegro had to apply for a UAE visa prior to travel.


The Ministry of Manpower has issued a decision setting out the minimum percentage of Omani nationals that companies in the insurance industry must employ in different professional levels until 2020. Additionally, the Ministry aims to achieve the total ratio of Omanization in the insurance sector at 70% in 2018, and 75% in 2019 and 2020.


Employers in oil and gas sector, water and electricity sector as well as those operating in seaports and airports, are required to conduct periodic and random medical checks for their employees to ensure that the workers are not under influence of alcohol, narcotics or psychotropic substances. Employers must also ensure that their worksites are free of any of such substances. The decision amending occupational safety and health regulations has been issued by the Ministry of Manpower with an immediate effect but no details, regarding frequency of the tests, were provided.


The Ministry of Interior has reinstated the process of issuing entry visas based on approved visa invitation letters to foreign nationals arriving in Federal Iraq directly from Iraqi Kurdistan. The decision comes a few weeks after the reopening of international flights in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Middle East

Government offices across the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia will be working reduced hours during the month of Ramadan, which may affect processing times for all immigration applications. Foreign nationals and employers should expect processing delays which can continue in the weeks following Ramadan. This year, the month of Ramadan is expected to last from May 16 or 17 until June 14 or 15, 2018; however, the exact dates depend on a lunar sighting and are expected to be announced for each country separately.