Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Residency Visa-Its been a while since i wrote something ;-)

Well as promised another controversial entry! To be honest, I am starting to run out of really shocking things to lambaste the conservative, artificial and controlled bubble that most people in Dubai live in. But here goes

The current system which allows non-UAE nationals to live in this country basically revolves around a sponsorship system. To those who are not familiar with this, it basically means that to live in this country you will either need to be directly or indirectly ( through your working spouse/father e.t.c) sponsored by company or UAE national. Almost all companies (except for ones based in free zones but I am not going to talk about them for the sake of simplicity) are either completely owned by UAE nationals or at least 51% of it. Your existence in this country is connected to some UAE national or another.

Furthermore, the UAE has some really ridiculously draconian laws regulating the labour market. Im not going to bother listing all of them as it will take up too much of my time(UAE Labour Laws ). To put it shortly, UAE labour laws have granted employers a metamorphic rod to whip workers in any way they please. Labour has minimal rights. They are basically slaves in the hands of their employers. Additionally, because it is a legally cumbersome effort to change your job, there is minimal labour mobility. A lot of the problems with worker not being paid for months at a time or being abused by forcing them to work in hazardous environments could be easily resolved in most other countries. You would just quit your job and go to somewhere better! Here you have to suffer through it, complain to the Labour Department and hope that someone in there wakes up on the right side of the bed and is willing to take your case (one of 100s submitted daily) seriously.

How about evolving the system?

Get rid of the sponsor system. I have seen SO MANY injustices being made due to this system.

In its place issue residency visas that last the same duration and needs to be renewed in the same way as current employment visas. The residency visa is issued by the Immigration Department and is not attached to a single company or UAE national. The Department will decide who to let into the country based on the shortage of particular labour that exists in the nation. This visa entitles you to work at any company and entitles you to full job mobility. Since we know one of the main reason we have the sponsorship system is so that this country does not have to bear with unemployment issues, the residency visa will be nullified if someone is unemployed for 6 months. Currently there is minimal unemployment in a working population of 2.7 million people ( 1.33% or 15% if compared to the UAE nationals working population of 240,000 -according to FT ). These people unemployed are only UAE nationals as any expat that is unemployed will loose their visa and either leave the country or find another job ( if they are not blacklisted!).

OK bring it on with the comments!


Restless in Dubai said...

Well why should UAE Nationals work?

I can't really see why.

I will tell you a short story that might sum it all up.

At our company, we wanted to hire a UAE national to spice things up and have someone who belongs to the 'culture'.

Of course we consulted some high end recruitment agencies and had a couple of interviews and here is the outcome:

- ALL of them wanted to work from 9 till 3.
- ALL of them wanted 'Car Allowance'.
- ALL of them refused to work shifts as our business requires.
- ALL of them spoke broken English.
- ALL of them wanted a one year contract.
- ALL of them wanted their own office in a company that runs by cubicles.

I am not trying to offend anyone here, neither I am generalizing. I have seen and met great locals who work really hard and very intelligent and intellectuals. I am just giving you an idea why the residency system is based on sponsorship. So no UAE national will have to work when he/she can sponsor a few expatriates.

Peace. No Offense Intended.


localexpat said...

"To be honest, I am starting to run out of really shocking things to lambaste the conservative, artificial and controlled bubble that most people in Dubai live in"

what did i tell you? lol
no wonder no ones commenting. Think i my creative-controversial juices are drying up :-)

Restless in Dubai said...

I did comment...

That's not fair...


Paraglider said...

That's all true, but it's also common knowledge to everyone who works in these countries - it extends far beyond Dubai and some of the abuses are as big or bigger elsewhere. It's not going to change in a hurry because it suits the locals. Just take the money and have a beer.

ArabLady said...
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ArabLady said...
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BuJ said...


Hot Lemon& Honey said...

"ocals don't deserve their country since they r not doing their best to make something out of wut the gov is providing them with...if dubai or uae accomplished something then its becoz of the expats living here..." Then who does? the expat who leaved their own?
Again you guys generalize then appologize. Each one of you with their personal negative experience. I know about the locals you talk about, but I also know more who you don't. Seems that you are happier to talk about the "not so good ones".
This country is still in the making, you are asking way too much way too fast in a short period of time. In a country that most of you would consider a civilized one such as Canada, slavery of the chinese did not happen too long ago. I guess every country that is working their way into becoming a developed one goes through this phase that you whine about.
Yes, expat did help the UAE stand on its feet by providing them the experience and the labor needed to put things together, but everything came with a price and NOBODY compromised anything in the process unwillingly. There is alot of space for improvement, but we all have to be patient.
We call it sponsorship other countries call it something else.
We are not ready to give people from all over the world a refugee status, we are still standing on our feet. So back off with the sense of entitlement with regards to all the points you made. You guys are turning locals like me off with your consistent whining and lack of appreciation or the ability to see what this country has to offer.
Don't be so bitter about some of the locals who have the fortune to live a more pampered life, it is their country after all. Would it make you happy to know that this "luxurious" life will soon come to an end? cause it will.

Don't say ALL and say I am not trying to generalize.

No offend intended ;)

ArabLady said...
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localexpat said...

OK !! i think something went wrong in the interpretation of this entry

I never intended this to be 'local basshing' entry. On the contrary!

All i wanted to say was that FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THIS SOCIETY ( that includes expats and locals) why don't we change the sponsorship system.
I did not talk about giving anybody the citizenship or a permanent residency status.

localexpat said...

arab lady you can always voice your opinion on my blog! ;-)

But also remember that just as you are entitled to voice your opinion so are others. Just don't take what others tell you personally ( that what i do)

i*maginate said...

arab lady you make me laugh - your comments and your blog.

HL&H, I agree with you, just can't find the time to ellaborate on what you said.

expat, nice post. There's nothing being misinterpreted in your post here. I guess some of the opinions are a little OTT but hey, that's nothing new...we just gotta look at things in perspective and overall the labour/residency thing is pretty much OK in my opinion - after all if we can't handle it, why are we here? Isn't it the complainers who are just the people that the rules result in excluding?

dxb chica said...

Well you did raise an interesting solution rather than just ranting like MANNNNNNNNY residents in the UAE do.

I would also like to reply to restless in dubai, in the end your comment you said "I am not trying to offend anyone here, neither I am generalizing." but clearly in the start of your comment you did start generalizing ;)
Some locals do have certain expectations and I'm not trying to deny that but MANY others would just be happy to work in a warm happy enviroment. Don't blame them for those certain expectations because they are based on experiences and jobs offered by the government. Short working hours and most of their work use to be in Arabic. Remember ENGLISH is our second language and MANY TODAY are trying hard to jiggle both ARABIC AND ENGLISH.
I know personally you didn't want to offend anyone in your comment but you did offend me by question the fact why do local have to work.
Perhaps the company your working for has been targetting just 'certain type of locals'.

As a young Emirati national, I don't find you described applicable to me since I don't live upon the 'expectations' you've mentioned and many of my peers share my interview.
I don't expect to be treated special, and I dont want to be treated because of 'emiratization'. I don't want to be ANOTHER name in a companies emiratization list. I expect to be hired for my interesting CV not the passport or the nationality I'm carrying :)

KJ said...

I'm a recent employee in DIC (been so since August) and it is possible that I don't get my contract renewed this May or August. I am absolutely horrified at what will happen with the residency. I am already trembling... trying to secure one to stay in this country. I already live in a house, I have lots of friends, and I even bought a car I have to pay for for the next four years.

I can't just leave... but the laws are just too unforgiving.

rosh said...

This is an interesting post, it just so happens I seem to have shared a few similar thoughts at the community blog today.

Here is a link to the post and comments section - perhaps get more perspective - hope the link works, am not very good at this.


Anonymous said...

hi localexpat ,

Some of my indian friends work in a so called reputed IT company run by an ex health minister of UAE but like the workers , even the highly skilled software professional are treated shabbily without being paid for months together . Friends is there no way out and I really feel sad when I hear about the travails.

friends , let me know if we can do something about this