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27 August 12:00 AM

New work permit rule is a tribute to gender balance

 A UAE newspaper commented editorially on the government's decision to allow females working in the country to sponsor their husbands and adult children for a work permit, describing the new work-visa law as a "massive tribute to the UAE's gender balance initiatives, with visa laws now clearly aligned for both the genders."

In an editorial on Monday, Dubai-based Khaleej Times clarified, "The new UAE work permit rule allows men sponsored by their wives or mothers to be employed legally in the country, with two-year permits available at a fraction of the usual work-visa cost. Such a facility was earlier available only for women and daughters under the sponsorship of their husbands and fathers, respectively, and not the other way around."

The paper continued, "The new rule that came into effect as of yesterday is indeed a shot in the arm for the economy as it will benefit companies who now won't have to look at overseas recruitment while scouting for talent, and will help families supplement their income and thus improve their quality of life. This latest step is another piece in the extensive reforms jigsaw puzzle that is now taking shape in the UAE, strategically opening up employment for talented individuals and making the country an even more attractive expat haven. 

"At the same time, the new work-visa rule is a massive tribute to the UAE's gender balance initiatives, with visa laws now clearly aligned for both the genders. While earlier only women in select professions - as teachers, doctors or engineers - were allowed to sponsor their families (husband and children), the field is now open to all professional men and women who earn AED4,000 per month (or AED3,000 with company accommodation)."

"And not just that," the editorial added, "by allowing men to work while remaining on their wives' or mothers' sponsorship opens up a whole new section of talent that can be tapped into at a fraction of the cost a company would earlier incur. A work visa alone for a fresh recruit costs in the vicinity of AED5,000 excluding the cost of medical insurance and other expat essentials," it said.

"Companies can now hire such legal residents without having to spend on their visa costs (work permits cost just AED300) and medical insurance, which in this case would have already been taken care of by the spouse or the spouse's employer."

"The new rule is just one step in the visa reforms programme, but it is a giant step towards narrowing the gender gap," the paper concluded.

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