On Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) officially announced the suspension of news visas to 13 countries, including Pakistan. The suspension is temporary for now and will apply only to the issuance of new visas to visitors from the suspended nations.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri issued a statement where he talked about the temporary suspension. According to him, the UAE’s decision is “believed to be related to the second wave of COVID-19.”
In the statement, he said, “We have learned that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 13 countries, including Pakistan”. Furthermore, he said that the Pakistan government is attempting to pursue official confirmation from the UAE government.
The UAE offers various visa categories, such as business, tourist, transit, and student. However, they didn’t clarify which visas would be under the suspension. Primarily, the ban is for new employment and tourist visas.
The other countries in UAE’s suspended list include:
UAE started banning flights to Pakistan back in July
This decision also came a few days after they announced an upgrade to its “golden” visa system. This new expansion will allow a 10-year residency to users in the UAE. UAE Vice President and the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum mentioned the requirements in a statement. According to the statement, all holders of doctorate degrees, specialized degrees in AI, medical doctors are eligible for the golden visa. It is also eligible for engineers in the computer, electronics, electrical, programming, and biotechnology disciples.
The Foreign Office has also mentioned that the suspension would not affect already issued visas.
Back in June, UAE airlines Emirates temporarily suspended passenger services from Pakistan. This is due to the rising cases of Coronavirus in the country. The decision also came into effect when 30 Pakistani citizens tested positive onboard an Emirates flight. These passengers arrived in Hong Kong and tested positive for the virus. They lifted the suspension on July 3.
Then again in August, Kuwait’s aviation suspended commercial flights to Pakistan and 30 other countries. These countries were deemed under ‘high risk’ due to the Covid-19 virus.
In another statement, Dubai Airport Free noted that the suspension of visas took effect on November 18 and would continue until further notice.
It is noteworthy that most of the countries on the list are primarily Muslim nations. Sources say that UAE also has a strained relationship with some of the listed countries. One of them is Turkey.