Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Filipinos Dubai visit visa

About 22% of Filipinos in the UAE are irregular migrants or not properly documented, do not have a valid residence or work permit, or are overstaying

RESPITE. Filipino workers take a breather at a Dubai beach, with the landmark Burj Al Arab in the background. Photo by Jo Kearney

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – On its sands rests the tallest, the biggest, the grandest and the most glitzy.

Its man-made wonders, and the icons of the city itself, are deliberately constructed for vagaries to be enjoyed in excess, never in moderation. There is the polished corporate power of the Burj Khalifa, the consumerist Dubai Mall, and the flagrantly indulgent Palm Jumeirah. Its evening sky is made brighter with lights from the towers that zigzag across the skyline.

This is Dubai, the Las Vegas of the Middle East sans the alcohol (but only if you don’t know where to look, residents will say), the showgirls and the gambling.

Dubai may not have oil, but its buildings, malls, and villas ensconced in gated communities for expats lure visitors with something else: employment opportunity.

On holiday?

Don’t be surprised if upon your arrival, you are asked, “Are you here on holiday or in search for greater opportunity?” It is a question that will help the one asking point you to the right direction: either to tourist sites or to prospective employers.

To gain entry to Dubai, a Filipino must secure a visa. There are many types of visas, the most ubiquitous and multi-purpose being the “visit visa” which must be sponsored by a relative or spouse or company (for business trips) or airline.

“There are many types of visas to enter Dubai as a tourist, but none of them will allow you to work,” explained Michael Barney Almazar, a partner at Gulf Law, a Dubai-based law firm that specializes in assisting Filipinos.

But it does not stop visitors from making the most out of their 30 or 90-day visit visa to look for an employer willing to hire them and sponsor their work visa.

It is a race against time but a trip to the nearby resort island of Kish, Iran with your passport stamped to show an exit out of Dubai will quickly reset the clock.