Tuesday, May 31, 2005

1964: Immigration issues :: Road to federation

By 1964 the growth of the economies of Abu Dhabi and Dubai was creating something of a gold rush mentality, particularly in Asia. A huge new demand for labour was resulting in mass immigration which the Trucial States were finding hard to control, or monitor, with their basic Immigration Services. As early as 1962 it had been reported in Council that upwards of nine hundred Asians a week were landing by boat at Khor Fakkan on the East Coast and then making their way to Dubai, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi. Most found their way to Dubai, where there were more opportunities.

Although it was understood that a system of seven individual entities was unworkable, this was just what was being attempted. Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr of Sharjah suggested a joint visa section, based in Dubai, a plan that Sheikh Rashid took under consideration for the next Council meeting. He stated, however, that he was perfectly happy with the controls in place in Dubai. Indeed, administration and government apparatus in Dubai were, at this point, far ahead of the six others in their organisation and effectiveness.
Though the immigration services is now largely federal, each of the seven emirates still retains some control of immigration. Thus, an employee's visa specify the company sponsoring the visa and the emirate of the workplace. If the company wishes to transfer the employee to an office in another emirate in needs the permission of the receiving emirate.


Blogger EclectEcon said...

As I read this, I kept thinking about the immigration policy concerns of the disparate entities of the non-existent European Union. Propopents of the EU constitution need to look for lessons from elsewhere, and the UAE might help provide some insight, especially in areas of immigration.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

It's a bizarre thing, this idea of 'immigration'. The word implies an intention to live in the UAE forever, but that is manifestly not the case. Immigrant workers get a 3-year residency visa. If they want to stay longer, they can extend it for another 3 years. And so on.

Compare this with immigration policies in Canada and Australia. There may or may not be a short-term work visa, but generally in these countries, the aim seems to be that the immigrant wants to stay there forever. Selection procedures are extremely strict, and points are given for youth, educational qualifications, etc. My wife and I, mere striplings of 47 years old, both graduates and highly experienced in our respective jobs cannot qualify on points for Australia, while a semi-literate 23 year old South-East Asian can qualify ten times over.

Oops, off topic there, report me to the Race Police.

9:33 PM  

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