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Asian tourists will need university degree to visit UAE - report

Tourists from Asian countries who make up a large chunk of the UAE’s population will need a college degree to stop rampant immigration.

Those from Asian countries hoping to enjoy the sun in the likes of Dubai may need to prove their education first.
Those from Asian countries hoping to enjoy the sun in the likes of Dubai may need to prove their education first.
Image: Hassan Ammar/AP

TOURISTS from south Asian countries that export labour to the United Arab Emirates will require a university degree to get a visa as the rich Gulf state fights an illegal influx, a newspaper reported today.

Electricians, pipe fitters, masons, farmers, drivers, tailors and cleaners from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines are now banned from obtaining a tourist visa, the daily newspaper Gulf News said, citing a senior immigration official.

The new measure sets a university degree as a prerequisite to obtain a visa, the official said.

“The Federal Residency Department… has decided to adopt stricter regimes for tourist, visit and conference visas to curb the influx of blue-collar workers from many labour exporting countries,” said the official.

“This would help significantly reduce the risk that individuals engaged in organised crime or the trafficking of persons could gain entry to the country,” he said.

Tourist visas are usually arranged through hotels or airlines and travel agents.

Tourism grew rapidly in the UAE, especially in the glitzy emirate of Dubai, where the number of tourists increased to 9.3 million in 2011, up 10 per cent from the previous year.

The UAE has millions of foreign workers, mostly from South Asian countries.

The expat-dominated population is estimated to have grown to around 8.2 million by the end of 2010, with UAE nationals making up only 11.47 per cent of the total.

- © AFP, 2012

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