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  UAE visa problem for Indians with new passports

Online applications being rejected for passports without emigration clearance page; consulate says issue has been dealt with
By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter Published: 00:00 June 10, 2012

Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailShare on printMore Sharing Services116.Dubai: Visa applications with new Indian passports that do not have an ‘emigration clearance not required’ (ECNR) stamp are being rejected by the Ministry of Labour’s website, Gulf News has learnt.

The Indian government requires all citizens who have not passed secondary school and are applying to work in one of 17 specified countries, including the UAE, to have an emigration clearance stamp on a specific page of their passport.

Those with a secondary school pass or better needed an ECNR stamp.

However, as this was putting people through unnecessary hassle, the Protectorate of Emigrants abolished the need for the ECNR stamp and removed the page in October 2007.

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Joseph B., who worked in Abu Dhabi for nearly a decade, recently moved to Dubai for a new job, but his visa application was initially rejected because his recently renewed passport didn’t have the ENCR stamp.

“My online application was rejected because the emigration clearance page was not there,” Joseph said. “I complained with CGI [Consulate General of India] Dubai, but nothing happened for several days.

“Later somebody suggested me to show them the old passport which had ECNR stamp. Only then my visa was cleared.”

But not everyone has been successful.

Mohammad Ali, 40, is also a long-time Dubai resident. He was shocked when his company told him his visa application had been rejected.

On inquiry he found he was rejected because his new passport didn’t have the emigration clearance page.

Ali says time is running out because his visa has already expired and he is in the grace period.

The CGI Dubai, which has received several complaints, confirmed there has been an issue with new passports.

“We have received several complaints and our embassy in Abu Dhabi has taken up the issue with the Ministry of Labour,” said Ashok Babu, CGI Dubai’s media consul.

“We have clarified with them that the new passports don’t have the ‘emigration clearance’ page generally and that only in cases where clearance is required the ECR stamp will be there.”

He added that the Ministry of Labour is aware of the development has promised to change the system accordingly.

“I think the problem is already rectified because we haven’t received any complaints in the last two days,” Babu said.
  Dubai Municipality: Feeding stray animals punishable under law

Dubai Municipality to conduct awareness campaigns on the rules before implementing penalties (Source-Gulf News)

People who feed stray animals unwittingly allow residential areas to become breeding grounds for such animals. Picture for illustrative purposes only.
Dubai: The Dubai Municipality has advised residents to desist from feeding stray cats or dogs and warned that those found flouting the rule risk fines of Dh200.

"We first warn people and it is only later that, according to the rules, a fine of Dh200 can be imposed. So far we have not imposed fines. It is for their own good. We want people not to take the risk of catching any disease," Gaith Al Salasi, head of the veterinary monitoring section of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.

Al Salasi added, "we keep conducting awareness campaigns and our team also goes around to ensure that rules and regulations are followed. It is not a new rule but we would want to make sure that people stay safe and know how to deal with stray animals."

The fear that residential areas could become breeding grounds for stray animals is another reason that authorities warn people against feeding them.

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Differing view
Animal lovers, however, feel that people need to be guided on this subject.
"I would not say that we should stop people feeding stray animals. People need to be guided," said Leslie Muncey, chairperson of Feline Friends.

"It is usually the fear of catching disease from a stray animal that people have."

It is equally important that the animals are fed correctly.

For instance, giving milk to cats is common, but it should not be done because they suffer lactose intolerance, Muncey said. "Besides the milk goes bad very fast. They can be fed dry food, even chicken and fish which are cooked could cause problems as the bones get brittle with cooking."

"You should give them water because many cats die of dehydration particularly in summers," she added.

Emirates ID will replace Labour card
Decision likely to be implemented by June

After the completion of ID registration of all expatriates in the country, the labour card will be eradicated and replaced by the Emirates ID.
Dubai: There will be no need for expatriates to have labour cards after three months, a spokesman from the ministry of labour has said.

"The document which was essential for any employee in the country will now be replaced by the Emirates ID and there will no longer be a need to have a labour card by the end of June, when the deadline for registering expatriates in the ID system expires," he said

Earlier Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour, had said that Emirates ID cards would replace labour cards by the second half of 2012.

He said the decision would be implemented as soon as the Emirates National Identity Authority (Eida) was sure that all expatriates in the UAE were registered and had applied for the Emirates ID.

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After the completion of ID registration of all expatriates in the country, the labour card will be eradicated and replaced by the Emirates ID," he said.

The spokesman said that using Emirates ID as labour card will make things easier for expatriate workers. "They will not need to carry too many cards after the ID registration is completed by June this year."
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Dubai residents, whose residence visas expire this year, can register and renew their ID cards at the time of renewal of their visas.

Expatriates in Sharjah are required to register and renew their ID cards before February 1; Abu Dhabi residents must do it before April 1; and the deadline for Dubai is before June 1.

The official said that the Emirates ID is valid for two years for expatriates working in the private sector. The validity applies to also family members who are under their sponsorship.

what the ID replaces
•The Emirates ID card is an electronic means of identification by The Emirates Identity Authority EIDA.
•EIDA introduced the need for ID cards for all UAE residents over the age of 15 years.
•The Emirates ID will soon replace all other identification cards for the residents such as driving licence, health card and labour card.
•The Emirates ID validity depends on the validity of the residence visa, but the card does not need replacement when the visa is renewed.



1. ID cards must
2. Child safety campaign
3. Traffic fines
5. Rent registration
6. Unified car purchase contract
7. Fake mobile phones
8. Things you should know before signing a new lease

Thinking of moving to a new pad? Well, don’t even pick up a pen to sign that lease until you’ve read our checklist
1. Ask for a customised tenancy contract
2. Read the contract closely before you sign

3. Get the contract registered
4. Have your deposit held in an escrow account
5. Never pay in one cheque

6. Know your landlord
7. Get proof of authorisation

8. Document expenses in the contract
9. Plan for the unexpected
10. Make sure all bills have been settled

11. Have automatic provisions in the contract



The New Year comes with a series of changes, from the way you rent an apartment, carry out banking transactions and buy a cellphone to paying your traffic fines or buying a new car. Gulf News puts together a quick reference list on procedure changes worthy of a spot on your fridge

1. ID cards must
What: Fines and denial of government services to those not having a national ID will make it an unavoidable document in 2012. Emirates Identity Authority started issuing cards to Emiratis in 2006 and to expatriates in 2008. The majority of Emiratis have already registered and their deadline has been extended several times since 2008.

When: The authority has linked ID card registration and visa processing across the country except in Dubai which will do it in April 2012. Fines were imposed on Emiratis from November 1 and expatriates in four northern emirates (Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman), and all expatriates working in the government sector across the country from December 1 was the final push. The fine will be applicable for expatriates in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai from February 1, 2012, April 1, 2012 and June 1, 2012 respectively. October 31, 2011 was the deadline for renewing all identity cards expiring up to that date. The delay attracts a Dh20 fine per day, up to a maximum of Dh1,000.

Why: A deadline for professional expatriates in 2008 and denial of some government services also started encouraging expatriates to take action. The card is now mandatory across the country except in Dubai to access Ministry of Interior services including that of the Traffic Department. The rule began in four emirates — Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah in November 2009. Dubai will implement it in mid-2012. Ajman Government and many federal and local government organisations have made the card compulsory to access their services and others will follow suit soon.

2. Child safety campaign

What: A safety awareness campaign as a first step towards protecting children in high-rise buildings.

Why: In view of the increasing number of children falling from high-rises recently.

When: Ongoing

The tragic spate of children falling to their deaths alarmed authorities across the UAE, who took measures to ensure that children are safe. Authorities and safety experts have asserted the need to keep children under the supervision of parents or guardians at all times, generating awareness, while, at the same time, taking measures to ensure that houses and buildings are safe.

The Municipal Council of Sharjah has announced that local authorities will soon launch a safety awareness campaign as a first step towards protecting children in high-rise buildings. The Child Protection Higher Committee and the Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre are also considering issuing a new set of codes regarding construction and safety specifications in high-rise buildings to promote child safety. The Ministry of Interior's child protection centre called for balconies to be covered with Perspex sheets. Balcony doors should remain closed at all times and locked and keys have to be kept in a place that cannot be reached by children. The Department of Municipal Affairs, Abu Dhabi, is working to put in place a unified set of codes, known as the Abu Dhabi Building Codes, to address this issue.

3. Traffic fines
What: A discount on traffic fines if the amount is paid in full in five emirates.

Why: Helping car owners pay off their accumulated traffic fines.

When: Abu Dhabi: no deadline set
Dubai: by January 12
Sharjah: by April 30
Ajman: by February 29
Ras Al Khaimah: by April 30

In 2012, drivers and vehicle owners who have accumulated traffic fines will have a chance to pay them at a discounted rate in most emirates. In Abu Dhabi, drivers can still pay their fines at 50 per cent discount with no deadline given so far for the grace period, while in Dubai, the 40 per cent discount on traffic violations committed before December 2, 2011 will end on January 12. Drivers with offences in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah have until the end of April to pay their fines at a 50 per cent discount, while in Ajman, the same discount will apply only until the end of February. The 50 per cent discount on traffic fines in Umm Al Quwain ended on December 31, while those who committed traffic violations in Fujairah will continue to pay their fines in full, as no discount has been announced so far.


What: The International Bank Account (IBAN) number is required to conduct any local or international transactions. The IBAN is a unique 23-digit long, internationally recognised code assigned to each bank account. It is required if salaries are processed through UAEWPS, whereby the employer is registered with the Ministry of Labour, and UAEFTS, whereby the employer is outside the purview of the Ministry of Labour and the accounts of the employer and employee are with different banks. The IBAN is not required if the salary is processed through an internal transfer, which means the employer is outside the purview of the Ministry of Labour and the accounts of the employer and employee are with the same bank.

Who: Mandatory for all UAE bank account holders
When: IBAN launch date on November 2011 and will be mandatory after a three-month grace period from the launch date.
Why: To ensure efficient and speedy payment transactions and minimise the risk of transcription errors in cross-border transactions, according to the Central Bank.

5. Rent registration

What: Registering rent contracts with the Dubai Land Department (DLD) through This will be a pre-requisite to accessing other government services. Failure to comply will result in a penalty.
Who: Dubai tenants and landlords only
When: Effective on new contracts registered in 2012. Tenants with existing contracts can wait until their contract renewal date to seek registration.
Why: To help the government monitor the property market and offer better insights through its rental index while ensuring all tenants pay their housing fees regularly.

6. Unified car purchase contract

What: The new unified auto purchase contract clearly states the rights of the customers and dealers' obligations in terms of warranties, after-sales service and maintenance, among others. Officials expect disputes between car dealers and consumers to drop by 30 per cent with the implementation of the unified contract. The unified contract for sales comprises an invoice (containing the vehicle code, vehicle specifications, colour, engine capacity and checklist), warranty provided and a delivery acknowledgment from the customer. All printed documents should be in both Arabic and English. A service contract must include a service invoice, regular service check sheet, job cards and customer acknowledgment of the documents. For a parts contract, there should be an invoice with the service provider's name and address, description of the goods or services provided, sales unit, price in local currency and Arabic enabled documentation.
When: January 2012
Why: To help the UAE's automobile sector by making buying and selling activity more transparent, for the benefit of customer, officials say.

7. Fake mobile phones

What: UAE telecommunication service providers etisalat and du will suspend all services to mobile phone subscribers who use counterfeit handsets. Users of fake devices will be contacted by their service providers and all phones that are not type approved will be disconnected from all telecom services, including calls, texts and the internet, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said.

When: January 1, 2012
Why: Officials say fake phones could be hazardous as they may not meet safety standards.

8 - Things you should know before signing a new lease

Thinking of moving to a new pad? Well, don’t even pick up a pen to sign that lease until you’ve read our checklist

By now, we all know that Dubai is a tenants’ market. With the demand-supply equation tilted strongly against the landlords, tenants are in a position to be more aggressive in negotiating rent and facilities. However, the fact remains that tenants are not fully equipped to demand what could rightly be theirs because of lack of awareness. Property, in association with Ludmila Yamalova, managing partner, Yamalova Plewka JLT, brings you the low-down on what every tenant in this market must know

1. Ask for a customised tenancy contract
Remember, a standard tenancy contract does not really exist. “Whenever you enter into a negotiation with a landlord or real estate agent, just make it very clear that you want a contract that is specifically drafted for you,” says Ludmila. “There is a standard tenancy contract commonly used in Dubai, but that’s only a template. You can draft your own or make changes to it. The existing template is a one-page document which is limited and unhelpful. Today, tenants have the leverage to dictate or set their own terms. Some landlords and real estate agents will tell you it is not done that way. The truth is they don’t want it to be done that way.”

2. Read the contract closely before you sign
Ludmila advises tenants to read the contract thoroughly. “You must read the contract and if you don’t understand it, then don’t sign it,” she says. It is better to include a termination clause in the contract so that it becomes easier for both parties to terminate the deal if the need arises. Generally, the exit clause comprises the notice period and the penalty payable to the landlord. “You have to be fair and the term should allow you to terminate the contract with some sort of penalty. During the notice period, you should also give the landlord access to the property so that he can show it to other clients. If the landlord finds another tenant during the notice period, then he may not want to penalise you. Not every landlord wants to penalise just because they can,” says Ludmila.

3. Get the contract registered
Make sure the contracts are registered. Many people think it is the landlord’s responsibility to do it but this is unrealistic. Tenants should also be aware of this process. It is important — if anything goes wrong, you are not allowed to file a case against the landlord if the tenancy contract is not registered.

4. Have your deposit held in an escrow account
Many landlords ask for a guarantee deposit but at the same time refuse to return the deposit to the tenants when they vacate. “It is better to make sure that the deposit is held in an escrow account or with a real estate agent or lawyers,” says Ludmila. “Damages are bound to happen in the unit that you stay in and it is only fair that landlords have a security deposit which they can use for maintenance. Try to document everything.” Documentation is a vital aspect as there may be unforeseen situations where the landlord is unavailable and there is something wrong with the air conditioning or electricity. In such a situation, the tenant should be able to get the work done and then the cost should be reimbursed by the landlord. The whole process will be smooth if it is properly documented in the contract. “Another thing is to have the authority to deal with the service management company on behalf of the landlord. Get some sort of authorisation or power of attorney from the landlord,” adds Ludmila.

5. Never pay in one cheque
During the boom time, tenants used to pay rent for the whole year in advance as the sector was dominated by single cheque payments. However, when the market crashed and the demand for units came down drastically, landlords and real estate agents were forced to accept more cheques — some even offering payment option in many as 12 cheques. “Landlords can no longer dictate the terms as they used to. As a legal practitioner, my strongest advice is never pay in one cheque,” Ludmila says. She advises those who pay in one cheque to ask for a guarantee deposit from the landlord so that they can be held accountable for any damage or disturbance that may come up before the end of the lease. “You have to decide whether the guarantee deposit will be held with the real estate agency or the lawyers who are involved in it or an escrow account. While there are no escrow services in the UAE as such, real estate agents and lawyers can hold investment funds,” she explains.

6. Know your landlord
Make sure you know everything about your landlord because in the UAE many of them are absentee landlords who are represented either by licensed real estate agents or somebody else acting on behalf of the landlord. This actually means that you very rarely deal with the landlord directly. Ludmila says it is a problem if you don’t have the landlord’s contact details. “You are entitled to get this info and I suggest you don’t sign any kind of contract before you receive this information. You should also be provided with a copy of the landlord’s passport and visa page, and more importantly contact details,” she explains. If a situation arises, without the details of the landlord it is not possible to file a suit against the landlord or lodge a complaint with the rent committee, simply because without the physical address the notice cannot be served. Tenants also need to make sure these contact details belong to the landlord and not some of his representatives or real estate agents, which is the case most of the time.

7. Get proof of authorisation
In Dubai, it is very rare for tenants to deal with the landlord directly, so it is imperative that whoever you are dealing with should show you some proof that he or she is authorised to conduct the transactions and dealings on behalf of the landlord. “For example, if it is a real estate company, you need to see some kind of documents that show that this company is authorised to act on behalf of the landlord. If it is a representative of the landlord, then a power of attorney, which is a legally binding document, is an absolute must,” says Ludmila.

8. Document expenses in the contract
Tenants should make sure that they look at all the expenses such as water and electricity bills, housing fees, air conditioning/chiller/district cooling charges and service fees. “Generally, service fees are paid by the landlord while some others want to pass it on to the tenants,” says Ludmila. The issue of service charges must be discussed with the landlord in advance as it is something which will affect the tenants directly. If the landlord doesn’t pay the service fees, then the tenant’s rights to the property or amenities could be curtailed. Before signing the deal, the tenant and the landlord should make a decision as to who will pay the Dewa (Dubai Water and Electricity Authority) bill, which also includes the housing fee which is 5 per cent of the annual rent — a substantial amount. “Air conditioning is a big expense too and you need to decide who will pay for it because if you don’t pay and the landlord doesn’t pay either, it gets cut off” says Ludmila. “You need to discuss instruments such as access cards, parking access cards and parking numbers. If these get lost, how can you get a replacement? These are some of the issues that need to be addressed.”

9. Plan for the unexpected
There should be provisions in the contract for unforeseen issues such as power or water leaks, which can be a major cause of concern sometimes. Tenants need to discuss with their landlord who will be responsible in case of such an event. Ludmila recollects the plight of one of her clients who was forced to pay Dh10,000 every month as a Dewa bill because of some leaks. “Ultimately it affects the tenants and it is their name that is there on the Dewa account. Landlords may return this amount after finding out what the issue is but that’s only a hope. That’s why I insist on taking a deposit from the landlord as well.”

10. Make sure all bills have been settled
Ludmila advises tenants to conduct proper due diligence before they sign the deal and money exchanges hands. “Make sure all the accounts are settled by the previous tenant. There are many instances when tenants go to set up utility or telecom accounts only to find that the previous tenants haven’t paid their dues.” In such cases, the new tenants will be on a hook because on the one hand the dues of the previous tenant are standing unpaid while on the other the new lease agreement has been signed and deposit paid, she adds.

11. Have automatic provisions in the contract
Having automatic provisions in the tenancy contract allows the tenant to take appropriate decisions in case of any problem related to the unit even in the absence of the landlord. “Try to make an automatic provision where if the landlord doesn’t respond in two weeks, then the tenant gets the right to contact the contractors,” Ludmila concludes.

    Compiled by Deena Kamel Yousef, Dina Aboul Hosn, Binsal Abdul Kader and Shveta Pathak, Staff Reporters