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Tighter Visitor Visa Rules Pondered

Adel Arafah
 (KT EXCLUSIVE) / 6 January 2009

ABU DHABI - The Ministry of Interior (MoI) is considering a Federal National Council (FNC) proposal that visitors to the UAE will have to furnish a clean police record and a bank statement from their country of origin, senior immigration officials told Khaleej Times on Monday.

Ministry figures show that 80 per cent of pickpockets and thieves, nabbed in recent crimes, entered the country on tourist and business visas.

Brigadier Nasser Al Awadhi Al Minhali, Acting Director General of Naturalisation and Residency Department at the ministry, said the restrictions under consideration would be applicable for visit, business and tourist visas.

“General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, has issued these directives calling for studying the proposal of the FNC, and take action on it as soon as possible, if the new restrictions prove practical and realistic,” he said.

“The Naturalisation and Residency departments in the country have arrested many criminals, the majority of whom had entered the country on visit, tourist and business visas. This has prompted the department to chalk out new steps, including the ones proposed by the FNC,” the minister said.

Major General (retired) Ali Majid Al Matroushi, a member of the FNC and the Chairman of the Internal and Defence Affairs ad-hoc committee in the House, told Khaleej Times the high statistics had been taken seriously and prompted the recommendations.

Al Matroushi said the ministry had been requested to approve and enforce the recommendations as soon as possible for the safety and security of the nationals and expatriates.

The committee, he said, had reviewed the experiences of many advanced countries, and found them to be strict when issuing visas.

The move to make amendments follow changes introduced by the MoI last year which aimed to reduce the number of illegals overstaying on visas.

Lieutenant Colonel Rashid Al Khidr, Director of the Legal Department at the Interior Ministry said, “We should always understand that the naturalisation and residency departments in the country have the right to lay down the rules they deem fit, when issuing the visas, with the aim to avoid misuse and exploitation.”

 adel@khaleejtimes.com

 
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