UAE Visa Changes And 3-Day Weekend Plan Announced

The UAE has made major changes to visas last week, updating rules on renewals as well as guidelines for people living abroad. At the same time a three-day weekend scheme in parts of the UAE have been declared a success and a new megaproject has been announced.

It has been a busy week in the Middle East with headlines on holidays and visas across the region. Dubai made headlines after police gave a safety warning over a so-called “silent killer”. The emirate also has a new city after a district was renamed.

Public holidays in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and across the GCC are a mixture of religious observances and days of national celebration and recognition.

While public and private sectors in all countries offer holidays for occasions such as Eid, there are specific observances only recognized in certain countries.

It means that keeping track of every country’s public holiday and dates of business can be complex.  Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has ordered that a district in the emirate be renamed. The city includes four zones, Hind 1, Hind 2, Hind 3, and Hind 4, and spans an area of 83.9km.

Dubai Police warning over ‘silent killer’

Dubai Police has issued a safety advisory on the dangers of accidentally inhaling carbon monoxide (CO), which can be produced by burning fuel in appliances such as stoves, ovens, fireplaces, and heating systems.

Butti Ahmed bin Darwish Al Falasi, director of the Security Awareness Department in the General Department of Community Happiness at Dubai Police, said that carbon monoxide exposures and poisonings occur more often during summer and winter seasons due to the lack of awareness and wrong practices of some individuals.

“In summer, the most common way of getting carbon monoxide poisoning is when the AC of an automobile is on while it’s idle in a closed garage or space without proper ventilation. Meanwhile, carbon monoxide poisoning occurs in winter as people are more likely to use gas furnaces and heating appliances seeking warmth in closed places or structures with minimal airflow. Carbon monoxide is odourless, so it goes undetected by humans and silently kills them.”

UAE changes visa rules for those living abroad

UAE residence visa holders can now apply for a re-entry permit, if they are outside the country for more than six months. Residents will have to specify the reason for staying outside and provide proof as well.

The service can be accessed by residents via the UAE Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) website, under the ‘smart services’ page. Residents can also apply for a re-entry permit via smart service centers or typing centers.

UAE 3-day weekend plan success

Government agencies in Sharjah moved to a four-day working week in January last year. At a meeting of the Sharjah Executive Council (SEC) last week, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah chaired a session where the success of the move was reviewed.

The SEC reviewed a study of the three-day weekend work system and results showed an increase in employees productivity of 88 percent across Government entities. The change to the working week also led to:

  • 81 per cent increase in positive communication between employees
  • 61 per cent increase in the rate of providing e-government services outside of official working hours
  • 74 per cent increase in the attendance rate
  • 76 per cent increase in innovation and creativity
  • 46 per cent decrease in sick leave rate

UAE announces major visa change for all nationalities

The UAE Federal Authority for Identity, Nationality, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) has launched a new service through its smart services, which allows visitors to extend the validity of all types of visas issued to them for 60 days.

However, this service can be availed only once, a report by Gulf Today said, citing the ICP. “They can do this only before entering the country,” ICP said.

The fee to extend a visa validity is reportedly priced at AED200, including AED100 for the smart services, AED50 for the application form and AED50 for the authority and the electronic services offered to customers.

The Loop

Dubai will soon be home to a 93-kilometre, climate controlled highway, titled ‘THE LOOP’. The new highway is aimed at connecting more than 3 million residents using a “healthy mode of transport, access to key services and locations by walking and cycling within minutes,” sustainable architecture firm URB said in a statement.

“It will provide an enjoyable climate controlled all-year environment, to make walking and cycling the primary mode of transport for Dubai’s residents, in line with its new 20-minute city initiative. The aim is to make cycling and walking the primary mode of transport for daily commutes for more than 80 percent of Dubai’s residents by 2040,” the statement added.

THE LOOP project in Dubai is in place to develop a smart cycling and walking infrastructure, however it is still at its research and development phase, URB said. Key facts of THE LOOP include:

  • 93 kilometers
  • 100 percent renewable energy using kinetic power
  • Zero emissions transport system
  • 100 percent recycled water for irrigation
  • Additional amenities for residents
  • Promotes health and wellbeing
  • Vertical farms for food security

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