Expat relocation Egypt Saudi Middle East ..
Mobility Management Middle East

Egypt to inaugurate Grand Egyptian Museum in November

Egypt is set to finally inaugurate the Grand Egyptian Museum in November, Asharq Business reported on April 30th, citing unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The Grand Egyptian Museum is deemed as the largest museum in the world that includes antiquities of one civilization. The museum's construction cost is estimated at $1.03 billion.

It is located near the Giza Pyramids area and includes more than 50,000 artifacts.

In 2016, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided $460 million in financing, to be repaid over 25 years, at an interest rate of 1.4%, and with a grace period of about seven years.


Egypt starts implementing new tourism visa facilities

Various airports and seaports in Egypt started implementing a set of new measures for providing tourist visas for visitors of different nationalities.

Among these nationalities are Turkey, Syria, Iraq, China, Algeria and Morocco.

This comes as a push to drive more incoming tourism.

The instructions, which Al-Masry Al-Youm obtained a copy of, included allowing Chinese tourists to obtain a visa upon arrival from Egyptian seaports and airports.

The new measures allow tourist groups from Algeria and Morocco to enter the country with a visa upon arrival. Some of these visas will be sponsored by tourism companies accredited in the country.

In particular, there will be an allowance for Turkish tourists to obtain a visa upon arrival from various Egyptian seaports and airports, without being restricted to a specific age group. There will also be cancelation of the prior security visa for the age group from 18 to 45 years.

The measures will also include Iraqi and Syrian tourists to obtain a visa upon arrival at Egyptian seaports and airports.

This is only if they hold a valid entry visa used by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Schengen Area, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia.

The age groups that will be able to participate in the visa initiative are the under 16's and the over 60's. They will then be able to obtain an electronic visa through the E-Visa platform.

Sayed al-Gabry, director of one of the major tourism companies in the Red Sea governorate, said that the nationalities that have been granted these facilities are the major tourism exporting markets in the world.

Ehab Shoukry, member of the Board of Directors of the Tourism Investment Association in Hurghada, explained that these new facilities and measures will have a positive impact on increasing the number of incoming tourists.


UAE announces new entry permit fees for Golden Visa

The long-term visa offers select groups the ability to work, live and study in the country without the need for sponsorship

The UAE Federal Authority for Identity, Nationality, Customs and Port Security (UAE ICP) has revised the entry permit fees for foreigners applying for a 10-year Golden Visa.

The authority increased the cost of the six-month entry permit to Dhs1,250, which includes a variety of charges including Dhs1,000 for issuance, Dhs100 for the application, Dhs100 for smart services, Dhs28 for e-services and Dhs22 for Federal Authority fees, according to a report by Arabic daily Al Khaleej.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) said in November 2022 that the number of Golden Visas that were issued between 2019 and 2022 reached 151,666, reinforcing the UAE's status as an ideal destination to live, work and invest.

Read: UAE golden visa: 79,617 visas issued in 2022, says GDRFA

The UAE's Golden Visa offers select groups the ability to work, live and study in the country without the need for sponsorship.

The long-term visa is given to several categories of people including talents such as scientists and specialists, investors in public investments, real estate investors, entrepreneurs, top high school achievers and graduates of accredited universities in the UAE and from foreign institutions.

It allows foreigners to sponsor family members, regardless of their ages and there is no restriction related to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE.

The minimum monthly income required to get a 'Golden Visa' was recently reduced from Dhs50,000 to Dh30,000, expanding eligibility to many more skilled professionals in fields such as medicine, sciences, engineering, information technology, business administration, education, law, culture and social sciences.

The UAE ICP urges foreigners in the country and abroad wishing to obtain a Golden Visa to verify their eligibility to obtain it through the website http://smartservices.icp.gov.ae or the smart application "UAEICP" and follow the steps and instructions to complete the process.

Golden Visa services

Meanwhile, the increase in the price of the six-month entry permit comes nearly a week after the authority unveiled the 'One Touch Golden Visa service', a new comprehensive service that is aimed at simplifying the application and renewal process for a golden residency visa.

The 'one-touch' platform compliments the UAE government's digital transformation and it unifies all visa services through integrated packages. It seeks to assist applicants with their visa applications, issuance of other visas, status regularisation as well as the issuance of residency and identity documents - with the added convenience of renewing all of these in a single step.

The UAE ICP emphasised that the updated visa system represents a quantum leap in the entry and residence of foreigners in the region and the world while noting that it embodies the principles and fifty-year plan adopted to advance the country towards the next fifty years.

The UAE launched its Golden Visa programme in 2021, which grants 10-year residency in the country to certain professionals, specialised degree-holders and investors. The Golden Visa is distinctive as its scheme differs depending on the beneficiary.

For instance, real estate investors can obtain the Golden Visa if they purchase a property of at least Dhs2m while entrepreneurs can get the visa if they own or partner in a revenue-generating start-up registered in the country.

Over the years, the UAE Government has made its visa policy more flexible, offering longer residencies for certain types of investors, students and professionals.

The new system of entry and residence aims to attract and retain global talents and skilled workers from all over the world while boosting the country's competitiveness and flexibility in the job market.


Abu Dhabi private schools can raise tuition fees for first time in three years

Private schools in Abu Dhabi will be allowed to increase tuition fees in the 2023-2024 academic year, the emirate's private education regulator announced on Tuesday.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge said top-performing schools would be permitted to raise fees by 3.94 per cent.

The lowest-achieving schools can also increase fees by up to 2.25 per cent under the plan.

Private school tuition costs in the capital had been frozen for the previous three years to support parents during the Covid-19 pandemic, Adek stated.

Schools that wish to impose the increases - which were determined by the emirate's Educational Cost Index and school inspection results from the 2021/22 academic year - must have been in operation for three full years.

Abu Dhabi tuition fee increases

Schools ranked 'outstanding' in inspections have the option to raise fees by up to 3.94 per cent

Schools ranked 'very good' can increase fees by 3.38 per cent

Schools rated 'good' can increase fees by up to 2.81 per cent

School rated 'acceptable', 'weak' and 'very weak' can implement a maximum 2.25 per cent increase

According to the latest inspection results, 11 schools were rated outstanding, 37 'very good' and 85 were rated good.

Another 63 schools were rated acceptable and one school was rated weak.

School rankings

The annual inspections - known as 'Irtiqaa' - assess schools based on pupil achievement and personal and social development, as well as standards of teaching and curricula, leadership, management and support structures in place for pupils.

Inspectors spend about four days at each school to evaluate their overall performance.

Schools receiving the highest rating of 'outstanding' are said to have substantially exceeded expectations, under the assessment criteria.

Those earning a 'good' rating have met expectations, with 'weak' falling below expectations and 'very weak' substantially below them.

The fee increases are aimed at rewarding schools for their performance and encouraging continuous improvement in the quality of education provided to pupils in the emirate, Adek said.

Adek said the decision to implement the increases is optional, allowing schools to consider the needs of their communities and pupils before making the final decision.

Dubai and Sharjah announced plans to raise tuition fees last month.

Some Dubai private schools will be allowed to increase tuition fees by up to six per cent in the 2023-2024 academic year, the emirate's education regulator confirmed.

Schools that improve their rating from "weak" to "acceptable" and from "acceptable" to "good" can increase fees by up to six per cent, while schools that move from "good" to "very good" can increase fees by 5.25 per cent.

Schools that improve from "very good" to "outstanding" can apply a 4.5 per cent rise.

Dino Varkey, group chief executive for leading school operator Gems Education, said staff would benefit from the new tuition fee structure in Dubai.

He said the decision would allow the group to "invest further in our teachers and facilities, the foundations of a quality education for every Gems Education student".

In Sharjah, private schools were allowed an increase that doesn't exceed five per cent.

Sharjah Private Education Authority said schools with a rating below 'acceptable' are not eligible to increase tuition fees.

School fees at leading schools

Annual tuition fees can vary greatly across the emirate's private schools.

Brighton College Abu Dhabi was named one of the world's top 100 schools in Spear's Schools Index 2021.

It charges between Dh48,900 per year for its nursery up to Dh77,720 in Year 13.

Pupils at the school have gone on to study at Oxford University, Imperial College London, St Andrews, and Warwick University .

Raha International School, which offers the International Baccalaureate curriculum, has tuition fees ranging from Dh39,330 for early years learners to Dh61,900 in grade 12.

The school has more than 2,800 pupils from more than 80 nationalities and is operated by Taaleem, one of UAE's largest school developers.

Al Ain American Private School has set out its 2023-24 tuition fees on its website.

They range from Dh14,600 for kindergarten to Dh24,980 for grade nine.

The school was established in 2006 and places a strong focus on digital learning.


UAE visa reforms: 11 entry permits that make it easier to visit, work and live in the country

Streamlining how visitors can enter the UAE; making longer visit visas available for tourists; offering long-term residency for select professionals, and expanding the Golden Visa scheme are among the game changers the UAE has done recently to attract more people coming from every corner of the world.

These key reforms have been achieved with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the helm of the UAE Cabinet. On Wednesday, he tweeted a list of key milestones the government has implemented as he vowed the country will continue to march forward.

Here are the key reforms that have made it easier for people to reside in the UAE, visit the country, and explore job opportunities for a longer period of time with no sponsor or host required.

Golden visa

This 10-year residency visa was first introduced in 2020, designed to enable foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need for a local sponsor. It also comes with 100 per cent ownership of their businesses. While ordinary expatriates must renew their residency visa every two to three years, holder of Golden visa can renew it for a further decade. Golden visa is given to people who have "highly-prized skills or work in key industries that are crucial to economic growth". Now, tens of thousands of expatriates have now been awarded a Golden visa in recognition of their exceptional status.

Job-seeker visa

This has come into effect in October last year. It allows people to come to the UAE without the need for a sponsor or host to explore work, investment and business opportunities. Fresh graduates of the top 500 universities in the world can apply for this visa. The minimum educational level of the applicant should be a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.

Business exploration visa

This visa allows easy entry for people to explore investment and business opportunities in the UAE without requiring a host or sponsor. It only requires a deposit.

Medical treatment entry visa

This is available via sponsorship of a licensed UAE medical establishment. A certified medical report and a letter from the sponsored establishment are required. Medical insurance and deposit are also required.

Study visa

This visa is sponsored by educational, training or research institutions in the UAE.

Multi-entry tourist visa

This was introduced in March 2021. It's a five-year multi-entry visa for tourists to enter the UAE several times during a calendar year for 90 days at a time, which can be extended for another 90 days. The entire period of stay should not exceed 180 days in one year. Multi-entry visa does not require a sponsor but the applicant should prove a bank balance of US$4,000 six months prior to applying.

Visit visa

People can apply to visit a relative or a friend who is a resident in the UAE after providing a document proving the relationship and reasons behind the visit. No sponsor is required; only a deposit.

Transit visa

The UAE issues two types of transit visa: one for 48 hours which is free of charge, and another for 96 hours for Dh50. This visa is issued by UAE-based airlines and is not extendable.

GCC residents e-visa

This visa is available to residents of GCC countries and their family members. The GCC residency must be valid for at least three months from the arrival date and the GCC resident's passport must be valid for at least three months.

Temporary work mission visa

This is the best option for temporary workers on projects or probationary periods. The person applying for this visa should provide a temporary work contract, medical test and agreement from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation if the sponsor is under the ministry's regulations or if the person is a domestic worker.

Diplomatic affairs visa

This entry permit is for holders of diplomatic, special and UN passports. It can be issued by UAE embassies and consulates outside the country.


Saudis no longer need Singapore visa

Saudi nationals will be exempt from needing a visa when visiting Singapore from June 1

Saudi nationals will no longer need a visa when travelling to Singapore, according to authorities.

Citizens will be exempt from visa requirements starting on June 1, 2023 said the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

The Kingdom's citizens, unless they hold diplomatic passports, will need to apply for a visa if travelling before June 1, the ICA clarified. No refunds will be offered on existing applications.

Saudi Singapore visa requirements

A message posted by the Singapore Embassy in Riyadh's official Twitter account said: "*IMPORTANT NOTICE - Saudi nationals with passports issued by the KSA will no longer need to apply for an entry visa to enter Singapore from June 1, 2023 (inclusive).

"Other than holders of diplomatic passports, who are already exempted from Singapore visa requirements, all other Saudi nationals need to apply for an entry visa if they intend to enter Singapore before June 1, 2023.

"There is strictly no refund of the visa processing fee for those who have already submitted or received the outcome of their entry visa applications".


Saudi Arabia introduces three-month temporary work visa

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has introduced a three-month temporary work visa that is issued immediately without documents, a labour portal has said.

The visa enables enterprises to issue a temporary work visa whereby the holder can work for three months from the entry date, according to the Qiwa platform.

This visa, which can be extended for a similar period, allows the holder to work for a specific period without the need to issue work permit and residency.

The request for the visa must be submitted by the business owner or a commissioner on Qiwa business.

Qiwa is an electronic platform giving access to the Ministry of Human Resources' different services in the labour sector.

Regulations for the temporary work visa service require that the enterprise must be active and have a valid commercial registration except for the activities that do not require commercial registration.

Moreover, the enterprises under the same unified number must not have any expired work permit, and have sufficient credit in the national unified number of the enterprise on the Absher account.

The temporary work visa is issued immediately through Qiwa and does not require any documents.

The visa is electronic. and is valid within one year.

Reasons cited for rejecting a request for the temporary visa include an insufficient balance in the unified number of the enterprise on Absher and rejection from the Interior Ministry.

The temporary work visa balance package can be cancelled and government fees refunded.

The cancellation request must be submitted by the business owner or a commissioner, the platform pointed out.


Saudis Can Enter 3 Countries Without the Need to Obtain Visa

Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tirana has revealed the countries that Saudis can currently enter without the need to obtain a visa until the end of 2023.

The embassy stated that Saudis can enter Albania without visa until the end of Dec. 31 of the current year. They also have the ability to enter Kosovo throughout the year.

Saudi citizens will also be able to enter Montenegro without the need to issue a visa until next Oct. 31, provided that their entry and exit must not be as individuals, but to be among a tourist group.

The conditions for the Saudi citizens to enter Montenegro also include that they are required to arrive in the country through a direct flight from Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis must also bring with them proof of payment of accommodation costs, as well as a return ticket to the Kingdom, in addition to a letter of invitation from a tourist office in Montenegro organising the trip.

The embassy noted that the citizens have the possibility to enter the three mentioned countries through the Schengen visa, US visa, UK visa and Australian visa, provided that it is multiple-entry, valid and previously used.


Bahrain unveils new 'golden licence' to attract investors

The new licence is part of an economic recovery plan launched by the Gulf state in October 2021 to boost investment and job creation

Bahrain has introduced a new class of licences that offers incentives and streamlined services to foreign and local companies that are bringing large-scale investment projects into the country.

The new licence is part of an economic recovery plan launched by the Gulf state in October 2021 to create more than 20,000 jobs annually for citizens by 2024 and attract $2.5bn in foreign investment by 2023.

"Companies with major investment and strategic projects that will create more than 500 jobs in Bahrain, or those with investment value exceeding $50m will be eligible for the licence," a government statement said Monday.

The new licence offers eligible companies a wide range of privileges and benefits, including prioritised allocation of land for investments, infrastructure and services, easier access to government services, support and development funds.

The scheme also provides companies that hold the licence streamlined access to government services such as business licencing and building permit approval as well as support from Bahrain's Labour Fund, Tamkeen and Bahrain Development Bank.

Other advantages include integrated cooperation with various government departments, a designated account manager from Bahrain's Economic Development Board as well as a potential review of existing laws or regulations where necessary and applicable.

The Gulf state said the initiative builds upon its growing investment attractiveness. The country's latest move mirrors the visa systems and other economic and structural reforms that are being implemented across the GCC region as the oil-rich neighbours seek to attract talent and foreign investment in preparation for life after oil.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Oman have taken steps toward allowing some expatriates permanent residency.

Meanwhile, the country's investment promotion agency, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), attracted a record $1.1bn in direct investment in 2022. The investments from 88 companies are projected to generate over 6,300 jobs in the Gulf state over the next three years.


Qatar streamlines tourist visa applications with revamped Hayya platform

Taking place with immediate effect, the platform will become the single portal for all tourist and business visas to the country

Qatar Tourism has announced that it has re-launched the Hayya Platform.

Taking place with immediate effect, the Hayya Platform will become the single portal for all tourist and business visas to Qatar. This will unify visa processes for tourists, GCC residents and companions travelling with GCC citizens.

Tourists who require a visa to enter Qatar can apply through the Hayya Platform at www.hayya.qa, or through the application on their smartphones, and visit Doha, the Arab Tourism Capital of 2023.

In addition, Hayya holders will enjoy seamless travel and connectivity into Qatar as Hayya will be enabled for e-gate entry at Hamad International Airport.

Meanwhile, for those entering Qatar via land at the Abu Samra border, the Hayya Platform will provide a pre-registration option for faster entry for vehicles, making the start of a weekend getaway or longer stay in Qatar even smoother and more enjoyable.

For GCC nationals, the platform provides an option to apply for an entry permit for companions. The Hayya Platform also provides further services that help round out a visitor's stay, including maps, transportation options, offers and current events.

Commenting on the latest initiative, chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker said: "Qatar's national tourism strategy seeks to welcome over six million visitors a year by 2030. Already, Qatar is considered the most open country in terms of visa facilitation in the Middle East and the 8th most open globally, with more than 95 nationalities granted visa on arrival. We are pleased that the latest developments will further cement Qatar's position as a leading tourism destination and will provide the opportunity for even more travellers to experience the country's truly unique touristic offering."

Saeed Ali Al Kuwari, CEO of the Hayya Platform, commented: "The re-launch of the Haya Platform in its new form today is an extension of the strategic vision that the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy had previously developed, a vision that centres on the sustainable legacy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022T. The launch represents a means by which we will truly sustain the legacy of the World Cup.

Previously, the Hayya card allowed fans from around the world to enter Qatar to watch their favourite teams during the world's biggest football event. Today, the Hayya Platform is the legacy which we build upon, inviting visitors from all corners of the earth to visit our country and enjoy its authenticity, history, culture, hospitality, natural beauty and much more."

Following the success of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar has continued to welcome record-breaking numbers of tourists in the first quarter of this year. The country's culture, natural beauty and hospitality and leisure venues were experienced directly by international visitors during the world's biggest sporting event late last year and witnessed by billions more remotely.

Visitors to Qatar will be privy to Qatar's recently expanded hospitality and leisure landscape, which includes beaches and resorts, such as Fuwairit Kite Beach with its shores, and West Bay Beach.

In addition, families can enjoy shopping and dining destinations such as Printemps and Place Vendme, museums including the National Museum of Qatar and the recently re-opened Museum of Islamic Art, all while selecting their stay from a collection of newly opened international and home-grown hotels including The Ned Doha, Raffles and Fairmont Doha and The Outpost at Al Barari.


Qatar Visa Centres could soon provide family visa services, says official

Qatar Visa Centres (QVCs), which first opened a few years ago around the world to ease the process of recruitment of workers, have been very effective.

While QVCs at present provide services only for work visas, it could soon expand to include family visit visas, multiple entry visas and family residence visas, said Captain Khalid Salim Al Numaani, Head of Technical Studies Section at the Visa Support Services Department of the General Directorate of Passports.

He was speaking at an awareness webinar organised by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), titled 'The Services of Qatar Visa Center for the Public.'

At QVCs, successful job applicants will be able to complete the processes of fingerprinting, biometric data, medical examination and signing of work contracts all in the country of origin, before their arrival in Qatar.

Different Qatari entities - Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MoI - work closely for QVC's smooth running.

Captain Al Numaani said nine countries were covered in the first phase, with QVC already operational in six nations - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Offices will soon open in Kenya, Tunisia and Indonesia.

"We've seven QVCs in India, two in Pakistan and one each in Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines," said Al Numaani.

"We've implemented a system where applicants will be provided with an employment contract in his local language so as to avoid any confusion in the future. Once the signing is done electronically, we ask them to go for fingerprints, palm scan, facial image capture and iris scan. The concerned department will then conduct security checks before issuing visas," he added.


MoI limits renewal of expats' driving licenses to one year

KUWAIT: The traffic department said on Sunday that driving licenses of expats will now be renewed for only one year, down from three years at present. The decision went into effect on April 26, 2023. The department however said driving licenses of expats working as domestic drivers will be renewed for three years. Major Abdullah Bu Hasan, who announced the decision, did not say why they reverted to the one-year validity for the licenses.

But the interior ministry said several weeks ago that it is reviewing hundreds of thousands of driving licenses issued to expats to ensure they were issued in accordance with the law, amid reports alleging widespread corruption. Local media said thousands of licenses held by expats are likely to be canceled.

Kuwait applies strict requirements for expats who wish to obtain a driver's license. These include the expat should draw a monthly salary of at least KD 600, must have a university degree and must have stayed legally in the country for at least two years. Several professions like judges, engineers, doctors and others are exempted from these conditions.

Driving licenses for expats used to be valid for as long as 10 years in the past. Later, its validity was linked to the validity of their residency. The traffic department then reduced the validity to just one year for several years, before extending the validity to three years again in 2020.

Mobility Management Middle East

Middle East:
Saudi Arabia

Ivory Coast

Other Countries: