Abu Dhabi: A top Ministry of Interior official told Gulf News on Monday there is no Bangladeshi visa ban in place.

This comes after the Bangladeshi Embassy in Abu Dhabi received complaints from its nationals they have not been granted new visas in the UAE.

In some cases, they said, even the applications for visit visas and temporary work permits were rejected.

Typing centres across the country also reported problems.

Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation and Residency, and Ports Affairs at the Ministry of Interior, said there was no ban.

He said visas are regularly issued to all nationalities subject to the demand for workforce in the market.

And he explained there are certain restrictions on group visas to skilled and unskilled labourers to ensure their quality and competence irrespective of their nationality.

He added: “If a company applies for visa for a large group of skilled and unskilled workers whose qualifications and competence are not satisfactory, that application may not be successful.

“Because if better qualified and competitive workers [who may be from some other nations] are available in the market, the UAE wants the employer to recruit such workers,” he explained.

Al Menhali clarified that in such cases the qualification and competence of the workers are considered irrespective of their nationality.

However he revealed that there are certain measures to strike a demographic balance among the three largest communities of workers in the UAE Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

“We would like to give equal opportunities to these three nationalities who constitute majority of the workforce in the country and that factor is also considered while issuing the work visa.”

The official made it clear that such type of restrictions are not applicable to visa for professionals such as managers, engineers, doctors etc. “We issue visa for such categories of people from all nationalities without any restrictions.”

Typing centres, which submit visa applications online on behalf of the applicants, said they started receiving rejections to new residence visa applications of Bangladeshi nationals in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah about two weeks ago and in Dubai since last week.

The number of labourers coming from India has been going down drastically thanks to the increasing opportunities in India.

Bangladeshis have been filling that vacuum, they said.

More than 700,000 (seven hundred thousand) Bangladeshis constitute the third largest expatriate community in the UAE.