IMPACT – MEDIUM
Authorities have introduced a number of immigration changes for Dubai Creative Clusters Authority companies. The changes were announced last week and took immediate effect.
- Electronic entry permits will now be issued via email. Employers will no longer deposit entry permits at the airport for employees to pick up on arrival, but instead will email e-entry permits to employees before travel. Employees will then print them out and present the printout at the airport when they arrive. Employees will still be required to get both their entry permit and their passport stamped at the airport.
- Visa corrections can only be obtained through a separate application. Authorities will no longer allow visa holders to apply for changes to their visa (e.g., name change, profession change, company change or nationality change) as part of a visa renewal or visa transfer application. Instead, visa holders seeking to make changes to their visas must submit a separate visa amendment application.
- Authorities will no longer provide employment transfer (i.e., transfer within DCCA) services. Those transferring from one employer to another, even within DCCA, must submit an application for an employment release transfer, a process that involves an additional security check and is more time consuming than the old process for transferring within DCCA.
- Company establishment cards will no longer be issued with a validity period of three years. This change applies to new applications and renewals. One-year establishment card renewals will be provided, however, without the company first being required to return its old establishment card.
- New service fees have been instituted. Fees have increased for most services and across visa categories. The new fee list is available here.
- Health insurance will be required for all residence visa applicants. This policy is in line with policies that other free zones have already put in place. Read BAL’s client alert on this change here.
BAL Analysis: Employers should familiarize themselves with the changes and, if necessary, alert affected employees. Employers should be sure they understand the new e-entry permit process and should let employees know that they need to get both their entry permit and passport stamped upon arrival. The changes on visa corrections and transfers within DCCA will increase administrative requirements for applicants. Companies may need to adjust their budgets to account for the fee increases and should be prepared to adjust time lines and start dates, if necessary, to allow for employees to obtain health insurance in order to have their residence visas processed.