Middle East Filipinos

Archive for August, 2008

Dubai official clears confusion over visa runs to Kish and Oman

Posted by Admin on August 21, 2008

By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter
Published: August 19, 2008, 23:32

Dubai: The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) will not stop people from exiting to any neighbouring country for visa change, the top official has clarified.

Major General Mohammad Al Merri, Director General of DNRD said nobody is banned from travelling to neighbouring areas like Kish in Iran or Oman to change their visas.

“We have never stopped people from exiting to any country of their choice to get their visas changed or renewed,” said Al Merri.

Business as usual

The clarification came in the wake of confusion among residents on rules pertaining to visa changes as the authorities had banned visa run to neighbouring countries a few months ago. However, tour operators and airlines said it is business as usual for them as people continue to travel to Kish island in Iran and Oman to change their visas or renew their visit visas.

In that context, Al Merri said they prefer people go to their home country while awaiting for their employment visa so that they do not get stranded in a strange country.

“If he goes to a neighbouring country, what will happen to him if the visa gets delayed and the employer does not send the visa? It is to avoid such situations, we are encouraging people to go to their home countries,” explained Al Merri.

On the question of changing a visit visa to employment visa without exiting the country, he said that people can do so by paying a fee. “Again, we will consider it on a case by case basis. We do let people change their visa status without exiting the country in order to help them avoid difficulties” he said.

When asked whether people who come on tourist and other kinds of visas will be allowed to apply for employment visas, Al Merri said it is against the rule for a tourist to work in the country.

“If anybody gets a job and applies for an employment visa, we will study the case, and then decide whether to approve his application or not,” he said.

Quick look: Often asked questions

Q Is it compulsory to exit to one’s home country to change visit visa into employment visa or take a new visit visa?
A No. One can exit to any country of his choice to do both.

Q Can visit visa be changed into employment visa by paying a fee and not going out of the country?
A Yes, it is possible.

Q Can people who come on tourist visas get it changed to employment visa?
A Applications will be approved on a case-to-case bases. As a general rule, it is not possible for tourists to apply for employment visas.

Q Can residents bring in their relatives on tourists visa?
A No, Only licensed tour agencies and hotels can bring in people on tourists visas.

By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter

Dubai: Residents can take health insurance for visitors from any insurance company, provided the policy meets the official specifications, said a senior official.

The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department specifies that the health policy should cover accidents and emergencies during visitor’s stay in the country.

Oman and Aman Insurance, the two companies selected by DNRD to issue health policies have opened counters at DNRD office, and together are issuing about 300 health policies daily.

The two companies have been selected by DNRD following the new visa rules that make health insurance mandatory for all visitors to the UAE.

Staff at the insurance counters said the process is very smooth as majority of the people applying for visit visas for their relatives are buying the basic policy that cost Dh90 for 90 days.

“Today alone, we issued 150 policies by 12pm. People are also finding it easy because they can buy insurance over the counter within DNRD” said an Oman Insurance employee.

Three different types of health policies are available for visitors according to their visiting periods. Prices start from Dh40 for short-term visas valid for 30 days, Dh90 for visas valid for 90 days and Dh185 for multiple-entry visas valid for 180 days. Residents who were applying for visit visas said it was a hassle-free process to take insurance because policies are available over the counters at the DNRD offices.

Insurance counters are also be set up at the DNRD’s branches located in Abu Hail, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport, Dnata passports on Shaikh Zayed Road, Umm Suqueim, Jebel Ali and Bin Souqat Centre in Rashidiya.

Aman Insurance said in a statement that they will provide this facility on line to all their major clients at their own premises without any need to call Aman every time they need insurance for their visas.

“Since the announcement making health insurance mandatory for visa applicants, Aman has already issued thousands of insurance certificates to hotels, tour operators, travel agents and major corporate clients and individuals alike. In due course, this facility will be extended to the entire tourism industry,” said the statement.

Do you have any queries related to the new visa rules? How aware are you of the changes? Tell us at letter2editor@gulfnews.com or fill in the form bellow to send your comments.

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Press Releases Phil. Embassy-Riyadh

Posted by Admin on August 21, 2008

Posted in Saudi, Yemen | 2 Comments »

At the End of the Long Day

Posted by Admin on August 19, 2008

Below is an article authored by a certain Sherwin Madrid which was sent to me via e-mail from our common friend Rowell Pangilinan.

I have once been asked during my job interviews here in Dubai about what was the best thing about the Philippines . In a stunning declaration, I said that aside from the spectacular and majestic natural beauty that God has endowed the Philippines , one incredible piece of heaven that you could ever find here on earth are the Filipino people. That amidst the hardest flowing wind, we are probably the most positively oriented humans in the world. That though we maybe lacking in riches and what you call economic prosperity, we still take it easy and never forget to celebrate.

It would definitely makes someone proud to hear those words but it feels better when you are in a place where you can exactly compare our race with the others. Here in Dubai where I work, it is inevitable that in one way or another, I have to deal with persons from other nationalities, either directly like having them for officemates or indirectly like seeing them in public places. It’s the true test of who we are in comparison with the rest  Blatantly, you can see how our attitudes differ in contrast with the Germans, the British, Indians, Chinese and Arab people.

At the end of the long day, I  feel lucky to be Filipino. We maybe generally be short in height , brown in color and not as physically defined as the others but  we are jolly and mighty in the real sense of the word. We are not known for having foul odors. We take good care of our hygiene religiously. We are not like Arabs in character, dominant, sadistic, abusive and lukewarm. We are mildly mannered, hospitable and generous. We are happy to be of help. We may not be as totally liberating as the West, but we are open to embracing changes for the better.

We are likeable and loved. We can bond with almost nationalities with ease and without fear of rejection. We can communicate well enough to be understand by all. We learn things fast and willingly whether it is a technical job or something that require some specialized education or skills. We find so much fascination in other culture that sometimes we try to imitate everything we see in them, even the way they speak, the way they act and the way they dress up. But at the end of the long day, we love ours and we patronage ours. We take pride in our world class talents and products.

That what makes us truly unique and  distinct. That kind of uniqueness that doesn’t isolate us but rather put us in a level where we are respected and admired in so many fields. Yes, we are just a small and scattered pieces on the map, but our hearts and mind is as solid and big enough to make a difference in this world. We are democratic and many times we have taken the course of our fate into our own hands ( How many more Edsa Revolt will follow?). We are religious and our history is as colorful as the kaleidoscope of colors of the setting sun. So many times, we were conquered,  so many times we were divided, but at the end of the long day,  we return home and act as one.

It’s not all good though, as nobody is perfect. We are also humans and hence we are bound to make mistakes. Inevitably, we experience injustice, inequality, discrimination and abuse in the hands of our fellowmen. Indirectly, we are being punished by the effects of corruption in the government, our people’s diminishing moral and our disgusting crab mentality. Poverty is rampant just as the rich becomes richer. The means for survival is becoming less affordable. This is evidenced by hundreds of us leaving our family behind and wanting to work abroad. But at the end of the long day, no amount of money can equate to the joys and pains of sharing your every moment with your loved ones back home. That we’d rather have bad times with them and to have good times somewhere else across the globe.

So many things and events can happen in a day’s journey. Some are good, some are not so good. The best part of it? Well, knowing exactly that you have done you part in the best way you could. If it failed, there’s always another day to make it better. The important thing is knowing how to get up and pick up the pieces.

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Imagine a world without Filipinos

Posted by Admin on August 10, 2008

Please read this very interesting article about Filipino OFWs. Let’s be proud as true blue Kabayan!

by : Abdullah Al-Maghlooth | Al-Watan, almaghlooth@alwatan.com.sa

Muhammad Al-Maghrabi became handicapped and shut down his flower and gifts shop business in Jeddah after his Filipino workers insisted on leaving and returning home. He says: “When they left, I felt as if I had lost my arms. I was so sad that I lost my appetite.”

Al-Maghrabi then flew to Manila to look for two other Filipino workers to replace the ones who had left. Previously, he had tried workers of different nationalities but they did not impress him. “There is no comparison between Filipinos and others,” he says. Whenever I see Filipinos working in the Kingdom, I wonder what our life would be without them.

Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipino workers — 1,019,577 — outside the Philippines. In 2006 alone, the Kingdom recruited more than 223,000 workers from the Philippines and their numbers are still increasing. Filipinos not only play an important and effective role in the Kingdom, they also perform different jobs in countries across the world, including working as sailors. They are known for their professionalism and the quality of their work.

Nobody here can think of a life without Filipinos, who make up around 20 percent of the world’s seafarers. There are 1.2 million Filipino sailors.

So if Filipinos decided one day to stop working or go on strike for any reason, who would transport oil, food and heavy equipment across the world? We can only imagine the disaster that would happen.

What makes Filipinos unique is their ability to speak very good English and the technical training they receive in the early stages of their education. There are several specialized training institutes in the Philippines, including those specializing in engineering and road maintenance. This training background makes them highly competent in these vital areas.

When speaking about the Philippines, we should not forget Filipino nurses. They are some 23 percent of the world’s total number of nurses. The Philippines is home to over 190 accredited nursing colleges and institutes, from which some 9,000 nurses graduate each year. Many of them work abroad in countries such as the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore.

Cathy Ann, a 35-year-old Filipino nurse who has been working in the Kingdom for the last five years and before that in Singapore, said she does not feel homesick abroad because “I am surrounded by my compatriots everywhere.” Ann thinks that early training allows Filipinos to excel in nursing and other vocations. She started learning this profession at the age of four as her aunt, a nurse, used to take her to hospital and ask her to watch the work. “She used to kiss me whenever I learned a new thing. At the age of 11, I could do a lot. I began doing things like measuring my grandfather’s blood pressure and giving my mother her insulin injections,” she said.

This type of early education system is lacking in the Kingdom. Many of our children reach the university stage without learning anything except boredom.

The Philippines, which you can barely see on the map, is a very effective country thanks to its people. It has the ability to influence the entire world economy.

We should pay respect to Filipino workers, not only by employing them but also by learning from their valuable experiences.

We should learn and educate our children on how to operate and maintain ships and oil tankers, as well as planning and nursing and how to achieve perfection in our work. This is a must so that we do not become like Muhammad Al-Maghrabi who lost his interest and appetite when Filipino workers left his flower shop.

We have to remember that we are very much dependent on the Filipinos around us. We could die a slow death if they chose to leave us.

Posted in News | 6 Comments »