Foreign workers will be allowed to sponsor family members based on income rather than profession under the latest changes to the UAE’s residency rules.
The UAE Cabinet yesterday said the decision is aimed at “enhancing family stability of foreign workers and social cohesion, as well as attracting highly skilled workers”.
On this occasion, Nasir Bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said that the Cabinet amendments will undoubtedly strengthen family ties of workers, reflect positively on the labour market, boost productivity and support the national economy, thanks to the decision’s profound positive effects on workers’ performance.
Al Hamli added that the UAE embraces more than 200 nationalities living peacefully on its land with their full rights guaranteed by national legislations in accordance with international standards.
Barney Almazar, a director at Gulf Law who deals with immigration issues, said the move is likely to mean more foreign workers will be eligible to sponsor their families.
“By making income as one of the criteria instead of profession, the law has become more inclusive to cover not just professionals but skilled workers as well,” he said.
“It is not uncommon that skilled workers, having years of experience, have been promoted to higher salary grades but cannot obtain a managerial position stamped on their visa due to lack of educational degree.
“Now, they may be able to sponsor their families as they can demonstrate their ability to support their dependents based on their income.
“Working on a foreign land is already difficult. But being with your family makes it worthwhile.”
The development is the latest in a series of changes to the visa system in the past year and follows a 2018 cabinet decision to relax rules in offering 10-year visas to some professionals.
Key workers like those in science, research and medicine were among a broader list of executives and entrepreneurs offer the opportunity to extend residency visas, as the nation shifts towards a more knowledge based economy.