News Details

IMMIGRATION DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MENA REGION

Date Posted: Thu, 09 Jun, 2022

IMMIGRATION DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MENA REGION



Please visit our dedicated microsite https://www.fragomen.com/about/news/immigrationupdate- coronavirus for details on worldwide immigration and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic.

United Arab Emirates


12 May 2022 – Increased Emiratization Rates for the Private Sector


The United Arab Emirates Cabinet has adopted a new approach, whereby employers in
the private sector that have more than 50 employees will be required to increase the
number of Emirati employees in their workforce holding skilled occupations by at least
2% annually. The target for employers is expected to reach 10% by 2026.
This was one of the key initiatives that was announced last year as part of federal
program called ‘Nafis’. Please refer to Middle East Immigration News Flash 060/21 for
additional details.
All private sector companies that support the hiring and training of Emirati citizens will
be eligible for financial benefits, including an 80% reduction in service fees by the
Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization.
Effective January 2023, it is anticipated that every private sector business that does not
comply with the 2% rule will be subject to a fine of AED 6,000 per month for every
Emirati citizen vacancy that has not been filled.

18 May 2022 – Implementation of One-Year Residence Visa Scheme for
Nationals of Ukraine


Effective immediately, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities’ have implemented a
one-year residence visa scheme for nationals of Ukraine to reside in the UAE.
Nationals of Ukraine who arrived in the UAE through a visa-on-arrival or are in the UAE
on a cancelled or expired visa are eligible to apply for the one-year residence visa
scheme. This is not applicable to those who are outside the country.

Eligible Ukrainian nationals must have standard documentation to apply for this visa
such as a passport with a minimum validity of six months, a passport photo and a health
insurance policy. Ukrainian nationals above 18 years of age will be subject to a medical
test.
In the UAE, if an individual overstays their visa, they are typically issued a daily overstay
fine. It is not currently clear if nationals of Ukraine who have overstayed their visa are
exempt from overstay fines.
Nationals of Ukraine are eligible for a visa-on-arrival for a period of 30 days. The new
residence visa scheme can be applied for only once inside the country.

 

19 May 2022 – Unemployment Insurance Scheme Forthcoming


Effective January 2023, the United Arab Emirates’ Cabinet has approved an
Unemployment Insurance Scheme for Emirati and foreign nationals. The insurance
scheme will apply to individuals working in both the public and private sector and will
facilitate financial support for a limited period during unemployment.
The scheme aims to enhance competitiveness of Emiratis in the job market and to
attract and retain global talent.
The unemployment insurance packages will range from AED 40 to AED 100 per year. It
is not yet clear how the contributions will be made, if they will be covered by the
employer or employee and if the insurance scheme is applicable to employees across all
jurisdictions.
In the event of termination, employees will receive up to 60% of their basic salary to
help with living costs up to a maximum amount of AED 20,000 monthly during
unemployment, for a limited period expected to be up to six months. The support will be
discontinued once the individual obtains new employment.
Employees on temporary contracts, investors, domestic workers, retirees who receive a
pension or those under the age of 18 years will not be eligible for this scheme.

 

25 May 2022 – Update on Discontinuation of Residence Visa Stamp
Endorsement


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has begun to issue residence permits electronically,
instead of endorsing foreign nationals’ passports with a residence visa stamp. As a
result of this new process, foreign nationals must use their Emirates Identity Card as
their proof of residency status. This News Flash provides an update on the process
which was previously reported by Fragomen in April.
Currently all Emirates of the UAE, excluding Dubai, have adopted the streamlined
process where residence permits are being issued electronically. However, although
Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) in Dubai is following this new process, the JAFZA authorities
will still endorse a residence permit in a foreign national’s passport if it is submitted inperson
by the company Public Relations Officer (PRO). No further details have been
announced on when the rest of Dubai will begin issuing residence permits electronically.
Foreign nationals whose residence permits have been issued electronically must use
their Emirates Identity Card as proof of residency status in the UAE. Additionally,
foreign nationals must hold an original Emirates Identity Card if they travel
internationally.

 

27 May 2022 – New Classification System Announced for Private Sector Companies


Effective June 1, 2022, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) will start applying a new classification system for mainland private sector companies that will categorize companies into three groups. Amongst other criteria, companies that meet and exceed the government-mandated Emiratization rates will benefit from incentives such as discounted MOHRE service fees.
The new classification system aims to protect workers’ rights, promote diversity and empower business owners in the private sector.
Companies are currently categorized into three groups based on the following criteria:
• Category 1 includes companies registered as Emiratization Partner Members, among others;
• Category 2, which has sublevels 2a through to 2d, depending on the percentage of skilled workers and multicultural diversity in the workforce; and
• Category 3 for companies that do not adhere to UAE labour laws.
The main changes are to category one and two. Effective June 1, 2022, companies will be categorised as follows:


Category One


• Companies with 50 or more employees;
• Compliance with UAE labour laws regarding work permits and contracts for Emirati citizens and foreign nationals;
• Compliance with the Wage Protection System;
• Must meet one of the following criteria:
- Raises Emiratization rates annually at a rate no less than three times the target;
- Cooperation with the UAE Nationals Competitiveness Council through Nafis in hiring and training no less than 500 Emirati citizens each year;
- Classification as a venture owned by a young citizen at the local or federal level or of an innovative nature;
- Promotion in cultural and demographic diversity in the labor market;
- Participation in targeted economic sectors and activities, as determined by the Council of Ministers based on the proposal of the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization; and
- Inclusion in the facilities of the Higher Organization for Specialized Economic Zones.

Category Two


Applicable to all companies that:
• Comply with UAE labour laws regarding work permits and contracts for Emirati citizens and foreign nationals;
• Comply with the Wage Protection System;
• Meet Emiratization rates; and
• Promote cultural and demographic diversity in the labor market.

 

Category Three


Applicable to all companies that do not adhere to the UAE labour
law regarding work permits and contracts for Emirati citizens and
foreign nationals, do not adhere to the Wage Protection System,
and do not promote cultural and demographic diversity in the
labor market.

 

Companies will be categorized using an interactive automated system via MOHRE, based
on the procedures carried out by each company or the transactions undertaken

 

 

Qatar


26 May 2022 - Hotel Reservation Through Discover Qatar Mandatory for Select
Nationals to be Eligible for a Visa-On-Arrival


Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has implemented a new measure requiring Indian, Iranian and
Pakistani nationals to make a hotel reservation through Discover Qatar for the entire
duration of their stay in order to be eligible for a visa-on arrival.
Effective immediately, Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has implemented a new measure
requiring Indian, Iranian and Pakistani nationals to make a hotel reservation through
Discover Qatar for the entire duration of their stay in order to be eligible for a visa-on
arrival.
Indian, Iranian and Pakistani nationals who make a hotel reservation through Discover
Qatar will be granted a visa-on-arrival with a duration of stay corresponding to their hotel
reservation, ranging from a minimum of two days to up to 30 days. These travelers will
also be eligible for a one-time in-country extension of their visa of 30 days.

 

Saudi Arabia

17 May 2022 - New Saudization Requirements Announced for Select
Professions in Amusement Parks and Entertainment Centres


The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) has issued a
decision related to Saudization in select professions in amusement parks and
entertainment centres, such as Branch Managers, Supervisors, Customer Service and
Sales Agents, effective from September 23, 2022.
The decision from the MHRSD is to provide productive job opportunities for male and
female citizens in various regions of the Kingdom, to raise the level of their
participation in the labor market and enhance their contribution to the economic
system.
The below table illustrates the Saudization ratio and exemptions as stipulated by the
MHRSD:

Affected employers should review the procedural details related to the application of the
relevant Saudization requirements and must comply with them within the set deadline.
Non-compliant employers will be subject to penalties, including the suspension of
immigration and employment services such as the issuance of new work permits and
employment transfer. For additional information on the new requirements, including the
affected professions, please contact your Fragomen representative.

Bahrain


19 May 2022 – Grace Period of Third Implementation Phase of Wage Protection
System Ending Soon


The Labor Market Regulatory Authority announced the implementation of the Wage
Protection System in the private sector in Bahrain in April 2021. The program was
introduced in three phases based on the size of the company, with phase three starting
January 1, 2022.
The grace period for phase three of the Wage Protection System, applicable to
companies with to up 49 employees, will end on June 30, 2022.
Employers must ensure that they comply with the registration requirements and adhere
to the Wages Protection System in Bahrain.
Employers who fail to meet this obligation will be subject to penalties.

Jordan

11 May 2022 – New 5-Year Entry Visa Announced


The Ministry of Interior announced that visitors to Jordan will soon be able to obtain a
multiple-entry visa valid for five years, in a move to attract more visitors and investors
to Jordan; to develop and progress the national economy; and to simplify the
procedures for movement in and out of Jordan.
Foreign nationals who enter Jordan on a five-year multiple-entry visa will be able to
obtain a temporary residence permit valid for three months from a border centre every
time they enter the country.
Detailed conditions of the visa, including the policy start date and applicant eligibility
criteria have not been announced yet. Further information is expected to be published in
the coming weeks.
Earlier in 2021, a multiple entry-visa having a validity of one year was announced but
has not yet been implemented. Currently, most visitors to Jordan can obtain a visa-onarrival
for stays of up to 30 or 60 days, subject to a fee. The visa is typically for a
single-entry and is designated for tourism.

 

ABOUT FRAGOMEN


Fragomen is the world’s leading single-focus provider of immigration services and support.
Our firm is comprised of law practices and immigration consultancies that work together to
support our clients across all regions globally. At Fragomen, we leverage our collective
immigration experience to offer clients targeted and trusted solutions that help them achieve
their local, regional and worldwide business goals.
Fragomen’s team of dedicated immigration professionals has extensive experience in working
with multinational businesses, local employers, start-ups and individual investors. We have a
deep understanding of the region and maintain strong professional relationships with
immigration authorities. Our MENA immigration team is supported on a global basis by over
3,800 immigration professionals in more than 50 offices worldwide. Together, we provide
comprehensive immigration support in over 170 countries.
All we do is immigration, a sole focus that makes a considerable difference. Unlike many other
providers, all of our thinking, passion and resources are dedicated to improving the
immigration experiences of our clients and their employees. We have the track record, region
specific experience and know-how to provide you with a streamlined and compliant
immigration solution.
Visit our website www.fragomen.com or contact us at dubaiinfo@fragomen.com to learn more
about our company and services.