This week the spotlight is on employment and immigration developments in the UAE, where additional changes to the country’s visa system and an upcoming amnesty for illegal residents have been announced by the Cabinet at its latest session. These changes are in line with earlier announcements, including the introduction of a new insurance scheme which will replace the bank guarantees system in the country. In the last quarter of 2018, a new one-year permit will be introduced for women and their children residing in the UAE without a visa sponsor due to certain circumstances including a divorce or death of their husband. Currently, no similar provision is guaranteed in the immigration regulations and the decision of allowing residency in these cases is discretionary.
Nationals of countries affected by war or natural disasters will be offered an extendable one-year residency permit free of charge, regardless of their current visa status. No specific list of countries has been issued yet. According to the announcement, the regulation will be in effect from 1 August until 31 October 2018.
Finally, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has announced an amnesty initiative called ‘Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status’ which is expected to be launched in the coming weeks. The programme is aimed at allowing illegal residents in the UAE to correct their immigration status. Foreign nationals will have a choice to depart from the country without paying fines and without an immigration ban, or to change their status to employment. Those who entered illegally will be allowed to depart and will be issued with a two-year immigration ban.