x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Halt on Egyptian visas 'just rumour'

Egyptian reports are false, say Interior Ministry and Egyptian embassy.

ABU DHABI // Officials at the Ministry of Interior and diplomats yesterday denied a report that the UAE had stopped issuing visas to Egyptians.

Major Gen Nasser al Menhali, the Ministry of Interior's assistant undersecretary for naturalisation, residency and ports, said the report was "irresponsible talk".

"If this [visa rejection] happened to two or three people, it doesn't mean that it applies to thousands as well," he said.

He described as "illogical" claims that visas were being rejected because instability in Egypt prevented the UAE Government from carrying out sufficient checks.

"We investigate applications by case and we have our own security forces to do that," he said. "We don't go to the other country and ask them to give us information."

The UAE ambassador to Egypt, Mohammed bin Nakhira al Dhahiri, was quoted on the state news agency Wam as saying "rumours that suggest the UAE restricts or rejects to recruit the Egyptian labour were untrue."

He dismissed media reports in the Arabic-language press that the visit of the Egyptian prime pinister, Essam Sharaf, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, was delayed because of disagreements over Egypt's policy on Iran. Mr al Dhahiri said the visit was put back because of scheduling clashes, but will be rearranged soon.

Tamer Mansour, Egypt's ambassador to the UAE, dismissed the report of blocked visas as a rumour, saying visas had recently been issued to 25 of his countrymen.

The embassy had received 10 to 15 complaints of visa rejections in the past two weeks, he added.From that, he said, it was not reasonable to assume thatthe more than 241,000 Egyptians residing in the UAE would also encounter difficulties.

The embassy is investigating the complaints with the foreign ministry. Mr Mansour suggested those applicants rejected might have failed to fill out the right forms, or might have been individually identified as suspicious cases.

"The UAE always had strong relations with Egypt," he said.

A report on the website of Al Masry al Youm, an independent Egyptian daily, had quoted Emirati sources as saying Egyptians were being denied visas because of instability in Egypt. It also said relations between the UAE and Egypt had soured because Egypt had renewed diplomatic ties with Iran.