The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended the issuance of work or employment visas to 13 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan, a move that people associated with recruitment agencies warn could have negative effects on the economy from the country.
Indeed, since the ban came into effect on November 18, a recruitment agency in Rawalpindi has lost 3,000 jobs which were diverted to India by its client.
Initially, it was reported that the suspension was limited to visitation visas only, but UAE authorities have now confirmed that work and employment visas have also been banned until further notice.
A letter issued by the Dubai Airport Free Zone said: “According to the latest circular issued by the immigration department entry permit applications [for individuals outside the country] including new work visa and new visit visa applications [long, short and tourist] will be suspended until further notice. “
Countries that have been affected by the ban include Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Yemen to name a few.
A Foreign Ministry statement last week suggested the ban only affected visitation visas and would be linked to the second wave of Covid-19.
However, a report appeared in the Al-Jazeera newspaper citing an anonymous official saying the move was related to security concerns, although those security concerns were not specified.
Sources in Islamabad said Pakistan had not been officially informed of the suspension. Authorities tried to contact authorities in the UAE to determine the reason.
If the new coronavirus was the reason for the ban, India should have been on the list since it has reported one of the highest cases in the world, commented Senator Anwar Baig, who heads a recruitment agency .
Baig was of the opinion that the suspension of work or employment visas was of concern and he believed that the ban was “specific to Pakistan”.
The UAE is home to tens of thousands of Pakistani workers, who have been employed in different industries and send foreign remittances considered essential for the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
Give up the breakup, said Senator Baig The express stand that in 2016, Pakistan sent 326,000 workers to the United Arab Emirates, 290,000 in 2016, 275,000 in 2017, 208,000 in 2018, 211,000 in 2019 and even during the Covid-19 outbreak until October, 51,000 Pakistanis went look for a job in the Gulf country.
According to Senator Baig, these workers send nearly $ 4 billion in remittances each year.
He feared that if the matter was not raised with the UAE authorities at the highest level, Pakistan would lose the market to India.
A recruiting officer recounted The express stand that his company was supposed to send 3,000 Pakistani workers into the hospitality industry because of the Chrismes by December of this year. However, after the UAE banned work visas, her client has now turned to India for holding 3,000 jobs.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Syed Zulfi Bukhari confirmed that he The express stand that work visas for Pakistan had been suspended by the UAE in the past 3 days.
He did not know, however, whether the ban was still in effect.
Senator Baig urged Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to raise the issue with UAE authorities.
While there is no official confirmation, some observers link the ban to Pakistan’s apparent hiccups in relations with Arab countries.