Expatriates seeking to renew their visas in Abu Dhabi must now submit a copy of their housing rent contract to immigration authorities as part of new terms enforced by the Ministry of Interior, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Foreigners residing in Abu Dhabi as well as those who work in the capital and live in other emirates must also present a rent copy along with other documents required for their visa extension, the semi official Arabic language daily Alitthad said, quoting Major General Nassir Al Minhali, Ministry of Interior assistant undersecretary for naturalization and residence.
“All expatriates in the UAE are now required to submit a copy of their house rent contract when they want to have their visa renewed…they should also present valid water or power bills to support that contract,” he said.
“This is part of a new data system enforced by the Ministry of Interior…we need accurate and comprehensive data regarding the expatriates residing in the country…this is very important as this data base will also serve applicants in their dealings with other departments,” he added.
He said the new term affects families and bachelors and that residents of other emirates are also required to submit a copy of the rent contract.
“Those who work for Abu Dhabi-based companies and live in other emirates must bring a copy of the contract of their rent in those emirates…expatriates seeking to have their visa renewed in Abu Dhabi are not required to be living in the emirate…all they have do to is to bring a copy of their rent contract.”
Typing centres confirmed that the requirements are the same in other emirates, too. They told Emirates 24|7 that the Immigration Department has a new documentation requirements for individuals sponsoring dependents whether it's a new visa or renewal, documents are: Original tenancy contract attested by the municipality of the Emirate (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah etc.). The tenancy contract must be under the name of the sponsor. Also needed is the latest electricity bill or if it is a new contract, the deposit receipt.
This new policy also applies to sponsoring housemaids, drivers, parents, etc.
Some expatriates who share apartments are unhappy with the new rule. Some of them are of the opinion that this will add undue pressure to their budgets, as they will now have to look for independent accommodation. Said one extremely disturbed worker, "I earn just about Dh4,500 and have to support a family of 16 back home. With this new rule, I'm very uncertain of my future."
Meanwhile, some are optimistic the rule will be amended considering the hardships it would entail on numerous expats. One resident said: "My visa is valid for more than a year. Am sure by then there would be more amicable amendments made to the rule."
More than seven million expatriates are believed to be living in the UAE, with a total population of around 8.2 million in mid 2010, according to the Statistics Bureau.