Why UAE Refuses Work Permit Applications From Nigerians (Explained)

The Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) recently shared that about 512 Nigerians might likely be deported following the prolonged refusal by the UAE government to renew work permits.

According to NIDO, the UAE government has suspended the issuance or renewal of work permits to Nigerians, forcing many Nigerians to be out of jobs.

The post titled, “A Need For FG To Strengthen Labour Ties With UAE As Over 512 Nigerians Lost Jobs In 90days.”

It reads, “It is 90 days since the United Arab Emirates competent authority suspended the issuance/renewal of work permits to Nigerian Nationality due to long impasse on Covid-19 flight protocols.

“We wish to emphasize that thousands of Nigerians are reasonably and legitimately working in the UAE and the importance of unemployment relieves to Nigeria Government should not be undermined.

“Over 512 Nigerians and still counting are said to have lost their jobs, job offers to new employees revoked by employers between July and 24th September 2021. These include both skilled professionals and unskilled employees whose salaries range from 150 thousand Naira to 1million Naira salary per month…”

Direct Work Visa And Work Permit

Oftentimes these terms are used interchangeably while speaking on work relations between foreigners and the UAE workforce, but they mean very different things.

Companies willing to employ foreigners usually apply for a work permit that allows the foreigner to enter the UAE after going through a prescribed employment process.

A Work Permit is valid for up to 30 days upon entry and can only be renewed once, which gives the employer 60 days to apply for an Employment Visa (Residence Visa for employment purposes) for the foreigner. The visa which is valid for up to 2 years, allows the foreigner live and work in the UAE.

The employment visa is divided into categories which include visas for persons employed by Freezone companies and General Labour Visas.

Only General Labour Visas were suspended as opposed to what has been reported. This means that Nigerians under the Freezone category can apply and renew their visas.

Why The Suspension?

According to reports, the UAE suspended the issuance and renewal of employment visas to Nigerians following an increasing rate of violent crimes by Nigerians in the country, as well as other diplomatic terms unable to be met by the Nigerian government.

According to the Director of the Nigerian in Diaspora Organisation, Fernando Judel, no official statement has been posted on the official website of the UAE government but their are indications restricting Nigerian nationality from applying.

“If you want to apply, you would see a display in the dialogue box that it is restricted to this nationality being Nigeria. So the person cannot even apply at all, let alone the ministry receiving the application and rejecting it,” Judel told reporters.

Nigerian Government’s Response

Since the ban on renewal or issuance, the Nigerian government has been tight-lipped on its efforts to resolve its issues with the UAE that could lead to the deportation of many Nigerians before the end of the year.

Speaking on the ban, Director of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Bolaji Akinremi, on Thursday insisted that work permits were still being issued by the UAE government despite evidence proving otherwise.

A UAE resident dismissed Akinremi’s assertion that the Emirati authorities were renewing work visas, noting that only the free zone visas were being renewed and not the general labour visas.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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