Dubai: A five-year multiple-entry tourist visa system was approved by the UAE Cabinet on January 6, Monday.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced the new tourist visa system on Twitter.
On his Twitter page, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Today, we have reviewed achievements made over the past year… we planned for 2020 to be a different year as it marks the year of preparation for the upcoming 50 years (2020: towards the next 50). It is the year in which we design the future of the UAE.”
So what does this mean for UAE residents and visitors? We at Gulf News speak to residents in particular on how this will impact them and the economy at large. Here is what they said.
New visa can help UAE parents
Twinkle Chettiar, 44, living in Dubai has welcomed the new UAE tourist visa rule.
A five-year multiple entry visa to UAE is just what she has been waiting for – especially for her teenage son who is studying in Pullman, Seattle, USA. Her son – Gary Chettiar - is studying his first year in Business Management. “I will be taking a tourist visa for him as this will make his travel to and from UAE seamless. Not just that we don’t have to take pressure to get here every six months and have to go through the hassle of keeping his visa valid. Not just that we also don’t have to renew his visa every so often. A five-year tourist visa gives us enough and more time. It is a huge relief.”
She said the move will greatly benefit people with families to have a seamless process of procuring UAE visas.
Ease of travel for residents planning a temporary relocation
Radha Fonseca, 35, a Sri Lankan expat living in Dubai is pursuing higher studies in New Zealand. Currently a UAE resident, in May she is leaving the country temporarily to pursue her higher studies in international business.
The mother-of-two is moving out of UAE for this period with her two children, son Themika Wickramasinghe and daughter Vinuli Wickramasinghe - who are also on UAE residency visas. Her husband, Ajith Wickramasinghe will continue to work in the UAE.
“So the plan initially was to retain my children and my UAE residency visas and come back to the country every six months to keep it valid,” she said.
“Now with this great news of five-year tourist visa. I am considering cancelling my residence visa and instead take up the five year tourist visa.”
How will this benefit
“Well for one, there is no timeline attached to re-entering the UAE. This gives me a lot of flexibility to plan my trip to the UAE. I will not be under any pressure to arrive in the UAE. Not to mention, it will relieve me of flight costs every six months to the UAE. This is a great initiative by the UAE government,” said Fonseca.
Boosting tourism in the UAE
Anoop Bhargava, a finance professional based in Dubai said the new five-year multiple-entry tourist visa for the UAE will definitely boost tourism.
He said, "It is going to make UAE a bigger melting pot than it already is. With this new initiative, people from all over the world will be able to descend upon the UAE with ease. Needless to say this will propel the economy further."
“People from all over the world love the UAE for what it offers. Thanks to UAE’s airlines and the widespread connectivity to the whole world, the reach is far and wide. What is more, by expanding the initiative to all nationalities, this will allow the world to come to Dubai. A great move indeed,” he added.
Boosting medical tourism
According to a report in August last year, medical tourism sales in the UAE increased 5.5 per cent year-on-year to reach Dh12.1 billion in 2018.
And with the UAE government’s new initiative to issue five-year multiple entry tourist visas, Elana Pak, 34 from Uzbekistan believes these numbers will go up.
She remarked, “According to numbers I have read, health expenditure in the UAE amounted to an estimated Dh50.3 billion in 2018, marking a 5.4 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Just imagine with this news, the medical tourism will be boosted even more.”
Pak added, "A long-term tourist visa is what has been much needed. After the UAE is not just a country based on tourism alone. There are different and more reasons why people come to the UAE. And the entire industry will be propelled."
Ease business travel to UAE
Khurram Hanif , 39, a Dubai-based professional who works for a construction company in the emirate said his colleagues working out of UAE will greatly benefit from the new tourist visa.
“Working in the construction industry, I know that several business professionals have to regularly visit UAE to oversee projects and conclude deals. Having a long-term five year visa will make this process seamless. It will also prove to be cost-effective for companies who are planning to bring their employees to the UAE on a regular basis," he said.
Hanif commented that with business travel becoming easier into the UAE, it will greatly increase productivity and as a result boost the economy over all. "It is a win-win situation for all," he added.
Create more employment opportunities
UK expat Christina Bostock, 40 said more people will be geared to looking for jobs in the UAE. “They will have the flexibility to come and go to and from UAE, searching for jobs, attending interviews doing a rekki of the country, giving them enough time to take a decision. This is a great move, one that will benefit potential job seekers to the UAE a lot," she said.
"This will definitely encourage people to look for jobs in the UAE in the medium to long-term we are going to see more employment opportunities in the country."