Monday, July 16, 2018

UAE exempts accompanying tourist dependents from visa fees

The UAE Cabinet has affirmed that the UAE's competitiveness as a leading destination in family tourism supports the national economy and enhances domestic and foreign investments in the tourism sector. This came during the Cabinet’s approval of a decision to exempt the accompanying dependents of foreign tourists under the age of 18 from visa fees, from 15th July to 15th September of each year.

The Cabinet’s decision reflects the UAE's position in the global tourism sector as a prime destination attracting visitors and families from all over the world. The number of passengers travelling through the country's airports reached 32.8 million passengers during the first quarter of this year. Visitors come to the UAE to enjoy the historical sites, hotel and tourism services, and a number of festivals and activities throughout the year.

The decision of the Cabinet goes in line with the growth of the tourism sector in the country following the exemption of transit tourists from visa fees for the first 48 hours. Tourists can now also obtain a fee-free visa for children under the age of 18 years during the summer period from 15th July to 15th September of each year.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Visa in 24 hours for Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone Workers

Visas for the thousands of employees working at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) will now be processed within 24 hours.

Jafza on Monday signed a deal with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDFRA) that seeks to fast track and improve visa processing for people working in the emirate’s major business hub.

“The time is taken to process visas and related transactions are being cut to 24 hours,”  Jafza said in a statement.

The move is expected to benefit more than 150,000 workers employed in at least 7,500 companies. The agreement between GDFRA and Jafza is also seen to boost productivity within the businesses operating in the free zone.

The free zone attracts more than 20 per cent of the UAE’s foreign direct investment. It is home to thousands of companies, many of which are catering to major markets in the region and the rest of the world.

According to the latest figures, trade between Jafza and India alone reached over $3.4 billion in 2017.

Those dealing in automotive and spare parts also recorded business worth Dh39.5 billion in the same year.

“Simplifying business process results in increased efficiency and more productive companies and employees,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer of DP World.

“The agreement represents a new phase of cooperation with the GDFRA and integrates business practices as directed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.”

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Dubai launches new freelance work permit

Residents can now obtain a new freelance package for an annual fee of Dh7,500 in media and education sectors with Dubai Media City (DMC) and Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP), officials announced. The package, called Gofreelance, was launched by TECOM Group, a member of Dubai Holding, in partnership with Dubai Creative Clusters Authority.

The annual fee includes the Freelancer Permit and access to the Business Centre. If the candidates require a visa, such as if they are non-residents who want to freelance here, relevant “assistance” will be provided. However, the visa will cost separately as per the normally associated fees.

Gofreelance was announced during a media briefing at Dubai Press Club on Tuesday. Speaking at the event, officials from Dubai Media City outlined the benefits of the new package, which offers a freelance permit at a significantly lower fee (around half) than previous freelance packages in Dubai.

Freelancing advantage

Residents who hold jobs can obtain the Freelance Permit provided they have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their employer or sponsor, supplementing their salary. Companies, meanwhile, will be able to commission freelancers for needs such as a one-off project, contract-based work, outsourcing or assistance with the extra workload. The permit is also open to candidates who are on their parent’s or husband’s visa.

At the moment, the permit is restricted to certain “activities” in each of the two sectors of Education and Media. For example, in Education, there are five activities, including Education Advisor, Researcher, and eLearning Advisor.


The Media category, on the other hand, has almost 50 activities, including Actor, Animator, Cameraman, Journalist, and others.

Majed Al Suwaidi, managing director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City, told on the sidelines of the event that the new package comes in line with expectations of a changing professional market.

“We see there are a lot of changes in the industry. The media industry today is not like the media industry 10 years ago. How individuals interact with the media and how the media interacts with individuals has drastically changed,” Al Suwaidi said.

Work freedom

Al Suwaidi also said there are a lot of people “‘freelancing’ without the right [legal] structure. What we’re saying is that the right structure is better for you – and it doesn’t cost you that much”.

‘Strong interest’

Mohammad Abdullah, managing director of Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and DKP, told Gulf News there has been “strong interest” from the community for the new permit package and officials have started receiving applications.

“Freelance permits have been there before, but today’s event is to announce the new package. We’re making the process easier, faster and have reduced the cost, by around 70 per cent compared to many cases earlier,” Abdullah said.

Simplified process

The process for obtaining the permit has also been simplified, with almost all of the needed steps done online at, the website of the permit.

Candidates have to upload the application forms and required documents, such as their CV, passport and visa copy, a bank reference letter, and sponsor’s NOC (if applicable).

Once the application is approved, candidates will receive an email notification and then visit one of the business centres in DMC or DKP to personally sign the documents and pay the fee. During the visit, the candidates may be asked relevant questions regarding their application for clarification or verification purposes. Shortly afterwards, they will receive their freelance permit via email.