Expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a reason to cheer as the Government has approved a new rule under which foreign workers will now be able to sponsor their family members if they fulfil a certain income.
The rule will immensely benefit the Indian expatriate community members who want to bring their families to this country.
“The amended provisions now indicate income as a requirement for sponsoring family members, as opposed to the previously listed professions which allowed workers to sponsor their families,” said a statement issued by the General Secretariat of the UAE Cabinet.
“The amendment is in line with international developments and in accordance with best practices,” it added.
"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 life," the statement said.
Notably, Indians are the largest expatriate community in the UAE constituting 30 per cent of the total population of the country and numbering approximately 3.3 million.
Under the existing guidelines, male expats can sponsor their immediate family members such as wife and children if he earns a monthly salary of AED4,000 (SGD1,476 or INR75,153) or AED3,000 (SGD1,100 or INR56,364) 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 woman resident could sponsor her family only if she was a teacher, engineer or a health professional and earned AED4,000 per month. If she worked in any other sector, she needed to have a minimum monthly salary of AED10,000 (SGD3,690 or INR187,883) and special approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
The latest Cabinet announcement has done away with the requirement for residents to have certain professions. However, it was not immediately clear if there are any changes to the salary requirements.
Giving his reaction on the UAE Cabinet’s decision, Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, UAE 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 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,” he added.