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Wed 23 May 2012 11:07 AM

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UAE officials warn against marrying foreigners

Members of the FNC call for action plan to stop Emiratis wedding non-nationals

UAE officials warn against marrying foreigners

Senior authorities in the UAE have called for the drawing up of a national plan to highlight the negatives of Emiratis marrying foreign nationals, state news agency WAM reported.

According to the official Emirates news agency, members of the Gulf state's Federal National Council (FNC) are concerned that such unions are undermining the demographic balance of the UAE.

Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, chair of the UAE's Marriage Fund, said during an FNC meeting that there was currently no organ in the country that recorded trends among Emirati marriages.

"There is no specific definition of spinstership and there is no statistics in the UAE about this phenomenon… it is a relative issue about age of marriage… there is no social agency that keeps indicators or figures through which we can tailor solutions to this problem," Dr Al Shamsi said.

Dr Al Shamsi also reaffirmed that there was no shortfall in the Marriage Fund's finances, insisting that 95 percent of its financial requirements were secured as part of the country's federal budget.

"The fund has enough financial resources to support low-income beneficiaries,” she said, adding that the government’s 2012 budget allocated AED204m (US$55.5m) for the fund, in addition to gifts and assistance totaling up to AED3m.

In the UAE, the government regularly provides significant financial assistance for Emiratis when they marry. Weddings in the country are often lavish affairs and come with a high price tag.

More than 78 percent of respondents in a Marriage Fund poll believed that there is a strong connection between abundant expenses of weddings and delays in getting married, Dr Alshami added.

To tackle this issue, the fund has carried out nationwide campaigns to educate parents and youth about the negative effects of high-cost weddings.

Last month, the fund allocated AED15.52m to 426 Emiratis to help finance weddings.

It was the second time this year that that government-backed group, which provides grants of up to AED70,000 to Emirati couples, has released funds.

Saeed M 7 years ago

I'm a UAE national and I am married to a foreigner. I must say that I am very happily married!

I don't understand how they come up with the conclusion that marrying foreigners brings about alot of problems when the divorce rates among emarati couples are equally high!

Its not the nationality that determines a successful marriage, its the understanding and sacrifices that couples make...

keenobzerver 7 years ago

@ Saeed

The title is sensational, there is a big diff between the Govt highlighting the negatives, and warning against foreign marraiges. The key issue here is demographic imbalance regardless of whether the marriage is successful or ends in divorce, children of mixed parentage will in most cases most less culturally or religiously inclined than children of emirati parents. Dual nationality, mixed loyalties, etc.
In the long run this may leave many emirati girls unable to compete and find a husband of their own and its not easy for them to marry a foreign husband.

Mark of Zoro 7 years ago

I am in full agreement with you. Marrying a foreigner is no more problematic than marrying from within your community or clan etc. Marrying requires an understanding and respect of your partners views and culture if he or she is a foreigner. It is like live and let live.

I am an a British national of Indian origins born in an African country and married to a Chinese girl. We are very happy. It requires respecting each others cultures and traditions and much more. Of course there are problems sometimes, but this is normal. Everyone has problems at some time in their life, and there always is a solution. Intermarriage is a very minority percentage and should not undermine the demographic balance of UAE or any country. These days, the world is not a closed space as used to be. People from different countries and cultures interact with each other and do fall in love. Marriage ceremonies do not have to be lavish as is the norm in some societies, especially Middle East and Asian.

Rahmad 7 years ago

Well said Saeed M. you are right, i have seen North African-Chinese successful marriages, even here we all are muslims and still we have such restrictions.

This seems, like an order.

Please do not develop the feelings of Love for a good person which you know can keep you happy but because he belong to another nationality so govt dont want him want him to keep you happy. me too confused in words.

Doug 7 years ago

I think it's getting a bit personal if Emiratis are going to be told a load of negatives about marrying foreigners - I can't see any way this could be handled sensitively and could perpetuate dangerous stereotypes about foreigners or make Emiratis feel ashamed of falling in love with a perfectly decent person.

A better strategy would be find out WHY Emiratis seem to prefer to marry foreigners and address that in a positive manner. For instance, is it easier for Emiratis to meet potential foreign suitors than Emirati ones? If so, could the government not take steps to change that?

procan 7 years ago

No government in any county should have any thing to do with the love between a man and a women. A successful loving happy marriage should be celebrated by all and blessed by what ever your faith may be . What the world needs now is love ,sweet love....sorry to use a song lyric but it fit so well.

Layth 7 years ago

A very wise and timely warning to protect the UAE nationals from marrying opportunists.

expatian 7 years ago

UAE is still engaged in the process of building a nation.
The values and ideals that sustained the culture and identity of this new nation is best passed on to the new generation,at home.
where the atmosphere is not ambiguous and coloured by viewpoint ,which are not necessarily homegrown.
And what best way to ensure that ,else through marriage.
Yea yea providence cannot come between the love between a man and a woman.
But marriage is a social institution - and if the nation is threatened by demographic imbalance- the least the leaders of this nation could do is ensure that it is not sullied by theinflux of others who are not of this soil.
I deal with UAE nationals on a regular basis, in my opinion I can see the rift appearing between senior generations and the new confused and befuddled ones where - a sense of belonging is apparent by its absence.
At this point of history, UAE needs its citizens to feel that they belong -instinctively and not through history books

mohammad 7 years ago


SAM 7 years ago

I was under the impression that an Emirati woman can not marry a non-Emirati man; only men can marry a non-Emirati women. If that is so, then I guess the article refers to men only, which makes me wonder what demographic imbalance they are referring to. I was not aware that the number of Emiratis actually marrying non-Emiratis is significant to warrant such a plan. By the way, those commentators equating marriage with love and happiness, kindly curb your enthusiasm.