Dubai: Pakistanis and Indians have been warned against flying in to Dubai for job hunt on tourist/visit visas after hundreds ‘job seekers’ were denied entry at the airport for not meeting visa requirements.
Responding to the ongoing issue of passengers on tourist/visit visas getting stranded at Dubai International Airport, the Pakistani and Indian missions in Dubai have asked job seekers from their countries to refrain from coming to the UAE on these visas.
According to the Pakistan Consulate, 1,374 passengers were denied entry in Dubai since Tuesday. “A total of 1,276 of them were sent back and 98 are remaining at the airport,” a consulate spokesperson told Gulf News on Tuesday afternoon. He said the remaining passengers would be flown back home in the next 12 hours.
Meanwhile, the Indian Consulate said around 300 Indian passengers had been stopped at the airport so far. “Around 80 were allowed entry later. Right now, 49 are still at the airport and we are trying to send them back by tonight or tomorrow. But there is a huge rush on flights,” a consulate spokesperson told Gulf News on Tuesday evening.
Stop job hunters from flying as tourists
The Pakistan Consulate official said the mission has given informed the relevant authorities back home to stop ‘job seekers’ coming to Dubai on visit/tourist visas. “There are now two check points, at the check-in counters and at the immigration counters. If the officials suspect that a passenger on tourist visa is flying to Dubai seeking job, he will not be allowed to fly.”
The official confirmed that passengers are denied entry in Dubai if immigration officials are convinced that they have flown in to look for jobs. “The mission has also asked authorities back home to ensure that passengers on tourist visas have valid return ticket, hotel booking and show money,” the official said.
Indian Consulate said the mission has also given instructions to ensure that only genuine tourists come on tourist visas. “If you are on a particular visa category, you have to satisfy that that you are a bona fide visa holder. No country will accept travellers without proper documents and those who do not fulfil the requirements. We have to respect the immigration authorities’ rules and nobody should travel from India to the UAE on a visit or tourist visa looking for a job.”
The official reiterated that Indian blue-collar workers should be recruited only through the e-Migrate online recruitment portal and employers and employees should follow all the regulations. “We request our fellow Indians to come on proper visas. If they are genuine tourists, they should possess sufficient means to cover their expenditure also. And if they are coming for a purpose other than tourism, we will request them to get the right visa.”
The missions stated that discussions with local authorities have been ongoing to resolve the crisis. They have also sought to expedite the deportation procedures for those who do not fulfil the entry requirements. Why this trend now?
Both local authorities and diplomatic missions of labour-sending countries have been discouraging people from travelling on tourist/visit visas for job hunt.
Though the trend of jobseekers coming to the UAE on visit or tourist visits had seen a lull in the initial months after the flight services resumed following the suspension due to COVID-19, it has been picking up again as economies have opened, industry experts said.
A senior airline source told Gulf News that blue-collar workers seeking jobs in the UAE have again resorted to flying on tourist visas since economic activities in the country are coming back to normal.
Return ticket for Bangladeshis
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines on Tuesday announced that all passengers holding visit visas and waiting for their journey must have Biman return ticket (one ticket with two coupons) for travelling from Bangladesh to the UAE to avoid any deportation.
The airline has asked travel agents and other partners to disseminate the information for strict compliance, said Dilip Kumar Chowdhury, regional manager, Dubai and Northern Emirates, who issued the circular.
Though the airline had only received the circular from immigration authorities that Bangladesh is included in the list of five countries tourists from where should carry valid return tickets, he said it has also been informing passengers verbally that they should have hotel bookings and sufficient funds to support their stay.
“Though no Bangladeshi passengers have been denied entry in Dubai so far, we are ensuring that everyone is following the rules as there are many expats from Kuwait who are flying from Dhaka to Kuwait via Dubai after spending quarantine here and sometimes they are unable to book their onward tickets,” he said.
Airlines, travel agents and diplomats had earlier said that they had been informed that visit and tourist visa holders from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh must hold a valid round trip ticket for the entry in Dubai.