UAE Cabinet has amended provisions of the resolution on sponsoring foreign workers and their families in the country. The decision of the UAE Cabinet to consider the income of foreign workers that apply to bring their family members to the country, over their profession, will improve the family lives and social ties of private sector workers.
Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation
highlighted the positive impact the relaxed policy will bring among the people and also the economy. With the growth of the labour market, productivity will be enhanced as a result of natural improvement in the performance of workers within a comprehensive environment that will integrate the entire community.
This policy has the potential to attract skilled migrants across the globe to strike a balance between their professional and personal life for the duration they are working in the UAE. The concern for family stability of foreign workers will, in turn, receive an equally positive response from the expants.
The new family sponsorship policy in the UAE allows family members of foreign citizens working in the country to get an “expat visa” if the working relative fulfils specific income criteria. The policy offers another significant reason for the business set up in the UAE. Earlier, foreign workers would need to adhere to a pre-ordained list of ”professions” to be eligible for sponsoring their families.
UAE is an ideal global model of residency and employment which attracts ambitious individuals, in a country whose wise leadership, government and people are open to all cultures, making it an ideal environment for family stability.
The move followed commissioned studies by relevant government entities to assess and enhance the services provided to expats in UAE. These studies examined areas like education and health and proposed ways to encourage the active participation of expats’ family members in the job market, within the existing policy and regulatory framework. Sources also suggest that this could have taken place as an alternative to hiring more professionals from abroad.
What was the Previous Policy on Family Sponsorship in UAE?
Under the comprehensive guidelines, male expats could sponsor their immediate family members, including spouse and children, if their monthly income is Dh 4,000 or Dh 3,000 with company-provided accommodation.
Additionally, there were specific categories of occupations for them to be eligible to sponsor their families. For example, domestic helpers and other labourers engaged in the informal sector were not entitled to sponsor their families irrespective of their monthly income, limitations that this latest resolution seeks to amend.
Prevalent regulations also placed similar limits on female expats, who could sponsor family members only if they are engaged in the teaching, engineering, or health professions.
Minimum earning for women to own family sponsorship was Dh 4,000 per month if engaged in these professions, or a minimum of Dh 10,000 if she works in any other sector. Moreover, she must also surpass permit from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
What is Revised in the New Policy of Family Sponsorship in UAE?
Relaxation in UAE’s immigration laws discards the requirement for residents to have certain professions, although income levels remain criteria. However, it is not entirely clear if the new rules will introduce changes to the previously prescribed salary thresholds.
Nonetheless, the revision to the policy is aligned with recent international developments and accordance with best practices, as clarified by the General Secretariat of the UAE Cabinet.