Abu Dhabi halts tourist visas for low-paid expatriates

Report says move targets mainly Asians and is meant to curb illegal activities

Abu Dhabi has halted tourist visas to low-paid expatriates, mainly Asians, in a bid to ensure discipline in its labour market and curb begging and other illegal activities, a newspaper said on Monday.

The General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners’ Affairs told local tour agents not to apply for such visas for those workers and expatriates who do not hold university degrees, the Arabic language daily Emarat Al Youm said.

“The decision affects mainly Asian labour exporting countries,” the Dubai-based newspaper said, quoting an official source at the Directorate.

The source told the paper the new measures are intended to restore discipline to the domestic labour market as many of those who come on tourist visas have been found to be involved in begging and other illegal activities, adding that this has resulted in a large increase in the number of overstaying foreigners.

The paper said companies seeking group’s tourist visas must now provide applications with photographs of each visitor, the tour programme and dates of the entry and departure of the visitors.

“They were also asked to deposit a sum of money with the Directorate to guarantee all visitors will leave the country after the expiry of their visas.”

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