'Short visa change trips' comes to an end

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Dubai, July 28 (UNI) The short trips to nearby islands like Kish or neighbouring countries like Oman by expatriates taking up new jobs as a precondition for changing visit visa to employment visa have come to an end in the UAE.

The move by the UAE government to end such short trips will hit many small travel businesses surviving only on package tours for visa change and make visa change more expensive for expatriates who are now required to return to their home country and come back with employment visa.

Many such visa flights are done by low cost airlines which do not put a premium on safety and one such flight had crashed a few years ago in Sharjah killing scores of job seekers.

The new regulations, which will come into effect from tomorrow, will replace the old 'visit' visa option available to citizens of 79 countries, including the sub-continent and most of the West Asia.

The 34 nationalities who were previously able to obtain a visit visa for 60 days will now have to pay 100 Dirhams for a 30-day visa.

Smaller agencies will also be affected by the rule which requires them to make a refundable deposit of 272 dollars for certain nationalities applying for a visa.

Scores of job seekers who go to islands like Kish for visa change get stranded there as the agents who promise them jobs fail to get employment visas, a copy of which is essential for them to return to the UAE.

UNI XC PD HS1202

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