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Mon 4 Jan 2010 07:57 AM

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UAE saw no mass exodus of expats in 2009 - official

Ministry of Interior says total number of cancelled residency visas lower than 2008.

The UAE did not see a mass cancellation of residency visas in 2009 due to the impact of international financial crisis, a senior official  has said.

Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Ministry of Interior's Assistant Undersecretary of Naturalisation, Residency and Exits Affairs by proxy, said figures refuted claims by international media of a mass exodus by expats from the country.

"The total number of cancelled collective residences in 2009 was lower than 2007 and 2008 and there was no real or remarkable increase in the number of cancelled collective residences in 2009. This confirms UAE economy is still sound," he said in comments published by Emirates Business on Monday.

"Some 21,065,229 people entered the UAE via air, land and sea outlets in 2009. This figure is the biggest evidence UAE was, and is still, attractive. In addition, the figure is higher than the one registered in 2007 and 2008. The number of people who went out of the country last year totalled 20,682,623," he told the paper.

He added that the UAE did not have any intention to grant foreign investors permanent residency in UAE.

The residency granted currently is the six-month residency approved by cabinet according to certain conditions.

"We do not have any intention to change these conditions or set period of time," he said.

Al Menhali said the number of violators who were seized last year totalled 27,550, while the number of infiltrators was 2,474.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Skeptical Ali 10 years ago

I know hundreds of people that have left the UAE- and heard of thousands more from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria & even a bunch of European Expats that left Dubai in 2009. Maybe their residence visas were not cancelled directly when they left, but to claim there's "no mass exodus of expats in 2009" is total propaganda from the government & arabian business supports that agenda. Although some apartments are empty there are still a lot of people living in Dubai- but a lot more have left than new people arriving- can't deny the social facts!

Dan 10 years ago

If Dubai wants to become a fine holiday destination then a mass exodus is necessary. If not, it’s going to be another over crowded city with bad traffic situation and all that. Dubai needs also to become more “Arabic” as a destination as to being an Asian destination. I think a mass exodus is what Dubai and UAE need. If they don’t fix this demographic problem now, they will suffer ten fold in the future. Start using some of the empty houses as holiday estates and pay the remaining expats better salaries so you can offer better service to tourists.

Asad 10 years ago

Don't ignore the 2+2 calculation. For tourism you need money, for money u need local/foreign investments and infrastructure, to materialize foreign investments and infrastructure you need labour from top executives to labours (later is the one who work in the extreme hot and live in miserable conditions in many cases). Emirates doesnt have it's own population to meet the demand of labour, so they'd definetly require expats to go in to put concrete,fix nail, doing accounting for the places like ski dubai, malls and atlantis

Dod 10 years ago

The population movement is a crucial to many parts of the economy and is therefore interesting to know. It seems surprising that from the above 400,000 more people entered than left. It maybe be more useful to know the net number of cancellations and visas issued, just for residence visas. Or the movement in the residence visas in existance. There certainly does not seem to be the doomsday scenario of exits that some were predicting, but there was a reduction in the number of jobs so how can it be posible that the population increased?

moemen attia 10 years ago

Wouldn't be easier to put the 6 figurs that are the most crucial in this article? - Residency Visas cancelled in every year - New visas Residency stamped in every year and we can do the math ourselves

Flack 10 years ago

The officials figures imply a 400,000 net increase in UAE population. That is nearly a 10% rise in population during 2009. And far more than the amount of new accommodation that came to market. Curiously though, rents fell across the UAE. By up to 50% in places. The fall in rent is a matter of indisputable fact that we can all verify for ourselves. So one can only surmise that the official population figures are missing something; perhaps those leaving without cancelling visas for example. Because the simple fact is that rents don't halve when there are more people chasing every apartment. Economics 101. There ARE fewer people here. Insistence that there are 10% more people here is ludicrous. What are they all doing? Where are they all living? It is laughable.