Dubai has reportedly more than doubled the minimum salary required to sponsor family members to live in the emirate.
Expats must now earn at least AED10,000 ($2,722) per month to apply for visas for dependent families members including wives and children, according to local media reports.
The previous minimum was AED4,000 but immigration officials reportedly said that was no longer sufficient to support a family amid rising rents and living costs in Dubai.
The increase quietly came into effect last week and has shocked many low-paid workers, most of whom come from South Asian and African countries and work on construction sites or as maids and shop assistants.
It is not clear whether the new rule applies to only new sponsor applications or also renewals.