x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Minimum monthly wage rule for visas not in place, say UAE immigration bosses

Immigration bosses have denied a ruling is in place preventing expatriates who earn less than Dh10,000 per month from sponsoring their spouse or children.

DUBAI // Immigration chiefs on Sunday reversed a decision to increase to Dh10,000 the minimum monthly salary required for expatriates to bring their families to the UAE.

Applications for family visas will again be accepted from expats who earn Dh3,000 and have accommodation provided by their employers, or Dh4,000 for those who pay for their own accommodation.

Now applicants who were told last week their salaries were too low will return to the immigration offices and apply again.

“I was told I didn’t meet the criteria,” said Anoop Suresh, a newlywed Indian sales supervisor at a logistics company. He applied last week to bring his wife to join in him the UAE but was told his forms were rejected because his basic salary was Dh5,000.

“I am relieved if the requirement hasn’t changed. I’ll go back later this week to reapply for my wife’s visa,” he said.

The National reported at the weekend that immigration officials were telling applicants they no longer qualified for residency visas for their families if their basic monthly wage was less than Dh10,000. Officials at the immigration headquarters in Al Jafiliya and staff at the immigration call centre said the rule had come into effect last Sunday.

However, Maj Gen Mohammed Al Marri, director general of DNRD, the Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, in Dubai, insisted on Sunday that the rules had not changed.

“DNRD in all its branches continues to accept applications smoothly without any restrictions,” he said, and any changes to visa regulations would be announced by the Ministry of Interior.

“Our department is highly transparent in everything we offer customers and this has always been the way things are done.”

Nevertheless, some worried residents have already sent their spouses back home because of the confusion.

“One of my friends took his eight-month pregnant wife back to India to deliver her baby,” said Sajan Francis, a safety officer at an oil field construction company.

“When he called immigration to check if he could sponsor his newborn child under the new rules, the call centre said he wouldn’t be able to unless his salary was Dh10,000. They told him that it would be considered as a new visa and his salary did not meet the new rules.

“He was so stressed and worried what would happen after she delivered. So he took emergency leave and accompanied his heavily pregnant wife to India at the weekend.”

Immigration officials said on Sunday that under existing rules, expatriates who meet the Dh4,000 minimum salary requirement must supply an attested marriage certificate, a salary certificate and proof of accommodation, if provided by their employer, to obtain a residency visa for dependents. Imams, teachers and bus drivers for schools and other educational institutions are exempt from the salary requirement.

pkannan@thenational.ae