Dubai: Residency departments will not renew the residence visas of expatriates if they are wanted by police for financial obligations, Interior Ministry officials said.
Residency visas of expatriates, their relatives and their employees will be renewed only after the settlement of the financial disputes.
Several residents told Gulf News that their applications to renew their visas were rejected because banks had lodged complaints against them with police, who had issued arrest warrants.
Police have instructed residency departments to arrest these expatriates or send them to the authorities.
While this is the rule, Interior Ministry officials said they consider some cases on humanitarian grounds.
Lawyers, however, stressed that the police have no right to ask residency departments to arrest people who have defaulted on bank loans or other financial issues.
Residency departments, lawyers said, are administrative units and have no right to arrest or punish people by not renewing their residence visas for such matters.
Major-General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary in the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Borders, told Gulf News yesterday that if banks file a case with police against a person for financial issues, such as delayed payments of loans or bounced cheques and an arrest warrant is out, no transaction is carried out for that person.
He said residency departments do make exceptions.
“We look at the case on humanitarian grounds. We renew the residency visa if the person has a family, wife and children,” he said. “The ministry does not want to increase the number of illegal residents. The residency department does not arrest people if they are involved in bank loans but we ask them to sort the matter out.”
Dr Khalifa Rashid Al Sha’ali, a lawyer and legal expert, told Gulf News that when police ask to bar a person from getting his visa, it is meant to pressure him into paying his dues and protect the other party’s rights.
However, Dr Al Sha’ali said not renewing the person’s residency visa is a kind of punishment or pressure that is illegal and unjustified.
“It is illegal if the residency department does not renew someone’s residence visa if they do not pay their bank loans. There is no article in the law which says residency will not be renewed for not paying banks, for example,” he said.
A businessman told Gulf News that this step by the residency department is illogical.
“It punishes the company for an issue that involves the employee. The loan defaulter in turn is punished using a different tool and is made illegal.”