ABU DHABI (Agencies) — The expatriate workforce in the UAE must have felt relieved as the UAE cabinet on Sunday has announced that now income sufficient to support their families will be the only requirement for UAE expatriates to sponsor their family members as opposed to the previously listed ‘professions.’
As per prevailing requirements, male residents who are employed in the UAE can sponsor their immediate family members such as wife and children if he earns a monthly salary of Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 plus accommodation provided by his company. He also had to be employed in certain categories for him to be eligible to sponsor his family. For example, domestic helpers and certain other categories were not entitled to sponsor their families irrespective of their monthly income.
Similarly, a female resident could sponsor her family only if she was a teacher, engineer or a health professional and earned Dh4,000 per month. If she worked in any other sector, she needed to have a minimum monthly salary of Dh10,000 and a special approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
With the latest Cabinet announcement, the requirement for residents to have certain professions has been done away with. It was not immediately clear if there are any changes to the salary requirements.
The amendment is in line with “international developments and in accordance with best practices”, the UAE Cabinet said in a statement. “The decision aims at enhancing family stability of foreign workers and social cohesion, as well as attracting highly skilled workers while maintaining a healthy balance between professional and personal lives,” it added.
The Cabinet decision, the statement explained, called on relevant government entities to conduct studies to assess and enhance the services provided to residents. This includes aspects of education and health, and encouraging the “active participation” of the residents’ family members in the job market as an alternative to recruiting new workers from abroad, within the existing policies and regulations.
Welcoming the announcement, Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said the decision will strengthen “family ties of workers” and boost the labour market.
“It will also improve the workers’ productivity and create a suitable work environment for them. This, in turn, will improve the national economy,” the minister said.
“The UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities. The country always works towards ensuring residents’ rights by providing them with suitable regulations that are in line with international standards. We think of residents as our partners in development.”
Ali Mohammad bin Hammad Al Shamsi, chairman of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, said the UAE has become an “attractive destination for those who want to achieve their goals”.