Hundreds in UAE visa run business look elsewhere

Hundreds of employees in the visa change business to be badly affected with the new visa rule changes.

Image Credit:Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News
A Dubai-bound worker checks his visa fax copy while waiting to board a Kish Airline flight back after a few days on the island for a visa change.
Gulf News

Dubai: Hundreds of people employed in the visa change business will be badly affected when the new visa rule changes come into effect, industry sources said.

"In Deira there are about 60 small visa change businesses," said Rahul Krishnan, operations manager of Jass Tourism, which also does the visa runs. "They will have to find some other jobs for their employees," he said.

A representative of Kish Airline, which runs about five flights daily to the tiny Iranian island of Kish across the Gulf waters, ferrying visa change passengers, played down the effects the new rules would have on the airline.

"We have a very busy domestic sector," said the airline representative. The airline charges Dh500 for the visa change run.

Krishnan said the new rules that require people to go back to their home countries will hit Filipino expats hard. "It will be a huge expense for them," he said, noting that a ticket home would cost a minimum of Dh2,500.

Many of the visa change runs are done on buses by road to Oman.

The day trip costs Dh300. "A majority of people who come on visit visas looking for jobs will be affected," said one manager of a tourist company. "I came on a visit visa myself and got a job here," he said, noting that many sectors will be affected as it will get even tougher to get good, qualified workers.

Lancy D'Souza, manager of Uranus Travel, said the new visa rules would definitely help boost tourism. "We are not in the visa change business. It is a risky proposition," he said. "If the visitor is caught working the company that brought him is fined."

The rule that no visa runs will be allowed is to check the number of illegal workers in the country, a senior official at the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department said earlier. Every year there is a crackdown on illegal workers in the country and thousands are sent back home.