UAE issues 30% more residency visas so far this year

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The number of residency visas issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has increased by 30 percent on the same period for last year, according to a report in Gulf News.

A total of 570,917 new residency visas issued in the first half of 2014, compared with 436,993 issued in 2013.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, speaking at a press conference, said there has also been an 8.14 percent increase in passengers entering and exiting the country.

A total of 21,865,088 passengers entered and exited the country, compared with 20,219,288 in the first half of 2013, according to Al Merri.

“We anticipated those increases and we increased the number and trained our employees. We also developed the e-gate counters to make the process of entering the country smoother,” he told the press conference.

In order to deal with the increased traffic, the GDRFA has increased the number of counters at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2.

The GDRFA also sent 616,170 SMS messages during the first half of 2014 to citizens and residents to remind them to renew their passports, residency visas and e-Gate cards.

A social media and general awareness campaign helped to reduce the number of absconding domestic workers, according to Al Merri.

The GDRFA’s online presence has grown this year, with more than five million users visiting their website; they also recorded increased traffic through social media.

First half of 2014 GDRFA statistics:

- 570,917 new residency visas

- 515,292 renewed residency visas

- 382,045 cancelled residency visas

- 37,583 registered contracts for domestic workers

- 6,512,465 entry visas

- 14,150 reports of absconding employees

- 482 fake documents found

- 23,815 new e-Gate cards issued

- 21,865,088 passengers entering and exiting the city

- 28,363 ships entering and exiting the city

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