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Re­forms to the UAE’s visa and labour in­sur­ance laws were an­nounced by the Cabi­net on Wed­nes­day.

Chaired by Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid, Vice Pres­i­dent and Ruler of Dubai, the Cabi­net ap­proved eight de­ci­sions to im­prove eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness, in­crease tourism and re­tain tal­ented stu­dents.

These re­forms will af­fect travel, pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies and stu­dents seek­ing em­ploy­ment. So what has changed?

Stu­dents de­pen­dent on their par­ents for a visa are now el­i­gi­ble for a twoyear res­i­dency visa upon grad­u­a­tion, giv­ing them a chance to find jobs.

The re­forms have also eased penal­ties for those who have over­stayed their visa and for any­one who has en­tered the coun­try il­le­gally.

Such of­fences would have met with a ban, but now those res­i­dents who over­stay can choose to leave vol­un­tar­ily, with­out a “no en­try” stamp on their pass­port.

A six-month visa will be in­tro­duced for job seek­ers who have over­stayed but wish to work.

As for in­di­vid­u­als who en­tered the UAE il­le­gally, they too will be given the op­por­tu­nity to leave vol­un­tar­ily with a “no en­try” stamp on their pass­port for two years given that they pro­vide a valid re­turn ticket.

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