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From: Najeem Ahmed
Women on relatives’ sponsorship have to leave the country before they can transfer their visa to employment, according to officials from the residency department.
Officials said that any woman sponsored by her relatives and wishing to transfer her sponsorship to employment visa must leave the country in order to be able to be issued the employment visa.
The officials said that if a woman is on her husband, father, brother or any relative’s sponsorship and she want to transfer her it to her employer, the relative must obtain an air ticket in her name and bring it to the residency department in order to cancel her visa.
The officials explained that the woman will be given seven days in order to leave the country.
“When the employment visa from the ministry of labour is ready then the woman can enter the country again,” the officials said.
Previously, the move was only applicable to expatriates who entered the country on visit visas and wished to change it to employment. Adjusting the legal status for everyone used to cost Dh500, without the need to leave the country.
The official said that this facility does not exist any more and all who are on their relatives’ sponsorship must leave the country to obtain employment visa.
People questioned the move and said that this will make their life difficult.
“Why does a mother or wife or daughter living in the country on residence visa have to exit the country in order to obtain employment visa? What is the use of this move,” asked Raji from India.
Les George from Philippines said his wife has been on his sponsorship for almost 10 years and now she has found a job but he was surprised when asked by the residency officers that he should bring an air ticket for her in order to cancel her visa and that she should leave the country in order to transfer her sponsorship to the employer.
“I visited the residency department today with the hope of cancelling my wife’s residence Visa, so that she can transfer to her company sponsorship. My wife, Mary, works as a Store Manager for a private company here,” he said.
“I was advised by residency officers to first pay all outstanding fines that may have incurred due to her overstaying,” he said.
“As per the instructions I visited the bank and made the necessary payments,” he said.
He added that following this he approached the officer at the counter, who had earlier assured that should he clear all outstanding fines, and acquire a valid Transfer Work Permit from the Ministry of Labour, he could transfer his wife’s visa and that she does not need to leave the country for visa change.
“However, today I was told that this was not possible and that she will have to leave the country in order for her visa to be cancelled, and that only after this, could her company apply for a new Visa despite the fact the residency staff themselves having told me last week to obtain for her the transfer work permit from ministry of labour,” he said.
Les said that despite the fact that he is worried about his wife who has to go to Kish Island for visa change, he has no choice but to send her.
“When I checked with the officer why she should exit and come despite the fact that he himself said to me last week that there was no need for her to exit, the officer said ‘thats was last week and we are in another week’,” he said.
“It takes us time to obtain the permit from labour upon the instruction of the residency officers and that increases my wife’s fine after I had paid and cleared the fine. If the officer told me from the beginning that this was not possible, he would saved his time, our time and money,” he said.
In 2004, the UAE government took decision to allow expatriates to amend their visa statu following a Kish Airline Fokker-50 crash as it was approaching Sharjah Airport on February 10. The plane was carrying people who had flown from the UAE to Kish Island so that they could change their visa status. Forty-eight people were killed in the crash, with just three survivors. After the crash, the UAE amended its visa rules, so that people in the country could change a visit visa to an employment visa by paying a Dh500 fee.