Creation Business Consultants present the latest alerts regarding immigration, labour and government authorities. These updates may be relevant for foreign nationals and foreign residents throughout the entire Middle East and Africa (MENA) region.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
A mutual visa exemption has been introduced between the UAE and Mexico. With immediate effect, Mexican nationals are now eligible for visa free entry into the United Arab Emirates for a period of up to 180 days. Visitors/travelers to the UAE will receive an entry stamp upon their arrival. Earlier, Mexican nationals had to apply for a United Arab Emirates visa before their travel.
UAE’s Cabinet announces new conditions for the issuance of long-term residency permits (5 and 10 year UAE residency permits) for investors, specialists, owners of leading internationally- recognized companies, scientists, foreign nationals and students with extraordinary aptitudes. Currently UAE residency visas including investors are issued as per the maximum validity of three years. The Cabinet will reveal more details regarding the new law and the implementation date in the coming weeks.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
American nationals travelling to Saudi are now able to obtain visit visa starting from 6 months up to 5 years. Earlier, visit visas for American citizens were normally issued with a validity of five year and applicants were not able to opt for shorter validity.
Saudi employers do not need to perform labour market testing before a block visa request is adjudicated. Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) has now relaxed rules where employers are able to submit their block visa requests via the MLSD online portal.
A new online service named ‘Ejttiaz’ has been introduced by The Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE). Foreign engineers and technicians that are in search of employment in Saudi Arabia for the public and private sector must now register via Ejttiaz. Registration needs to be complete before signing an employment contract and obtaining a work visa. The completed registration enables temporary membership in SCE which qualifies the applicant to start the immigration process. Formerly foreign nationals had to complete the registration after their arrival in Saudi and before securing a work permit and Musqeem Card.
Employers in the private sector are now able to upload and update electronic forms of employment contracts for their Saudi and foreign employees. The General Organization for Social Insurance and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development launched this scheme to ensure compliance of employment contracts, ensure accuracy of data recorded in agreements aiming to eliminate and reduce labour disputes between an employer and its employees. Furthermore, employees are able to access their contract online. It is anticipated that the registration process will be required for all employers in Saudi Arabia in the future.
Ministry of Manpower has further extended the suspension on issuing new work visas for certain business activity categories of employees in specified professions such as: workers in construction, workers in cleaning services and sales representatives. Suspension on the recruitment of foreign manpower is extended for a further 6 month period.
Great news for foreign nationals whom are investing in the property market and purchasing real estate in Egypt as they may be eligible for an Egyptian residency visa. The Cabinet of Egypt announced this new law will come into effect soon.
Foreign nationals having a residence permit that was issued in Federal Iraq need to cancel the residence permit prior to being able to apply and get a residence permit for Iraqi Kurdistan, according to a statement by the Kurdish immigration authorities. Foreign nationals visiting Iraqi Kurdistan can stay for up to 30 days, after which they must cancel Federal Iraq’s residence visa and obtain a residence authorization for Kurdistan.
Indian nationals are no longer permitted to obtain a visa on arrival to Qatar, this announcement was released by the Ministry of Interior of Qatar. Furthermore, visitors from Indian will need to meet the following conditions:
In addition, the visa can no longer be extended in-country for a further 30 days.
Foreign nationals that are currently working in Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) holding work residency permits, still require exit permits for their departure from Qatar.
QFC and QSTP are special economic zones that do not fall under Qatar labour law, therefore foreign nationals employed in companies within the jurisdictions of QFC and QSTP cannot benefit from the exit permit exemption which was effective in November 2018.
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