Abu Dhabi appears to have relaxed rules stipulating expatriates seeking to bring in their families must submit a tenancy contract in their name.
Some expatriates who applied this week for residence and visit visas for their families presented tenancy contracts in other names but they were accompanied by the original tenant for verification.
A Syrian man who applied for a residence visa for his wife and two children was first asked to submit a tenancy contract in his name. But he told immigration officials that he has just rented an apartment temporarily for three months and that the contract was not in his name.
They then asked him to bring that contract and the tenant who rented his flat out to verify that the applicant would be staying in that apartment during that period.
“The tenant came with me and told the immigration employee that I have rented his apartment for three months…he showed them the contract in his name and signed a paper…the application then went through,” Maher Rushdi said.
Abu Dhabi began last week enforcing new rules requiring foreigners to present a tenancy contract or utility bills in order to be able to get residence or visit visa for their families. A legislation covering bachelors was suspended temporarily early this month to allow for smooth implementation, including the need to attest the rent contract at the Municipality to prevent cheating or manipulation.
Immigration officials said the suspension has triggered a rush by hundreds of expatriates seeking to skip that rule before it is enforced again.
“I went to the immigration department yesterday and applied for a visit visa for my wife and her father…I was turned away and asked to bring a rent contract,” said Imad Zaatari, an Abu Dhabi-based mobile phone salesman.
“I went back and gave them a contract in the name of my friend, who I am sharing his accommodation…my friend went with me and confirmed that I live with him…one employee rejected the application but I went to the officer in charge and it was accepted…but I was told that next time I have to submit a tenancy contract in my name.”