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The New Arab Staff

UAE claims new visa suspensions 'temporary coronavirus measure'

The visa ban aims to curb the spread of Covid, the UAE official claimed [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 December, 2020

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The UAE Foreign Minister told his Pakistani counterpart that the travel visa suspensions were 'temporary'.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said that visa restrictions rolled out by the Emirates last month are only a 'temporary' measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The state-run WAM agency cited bin Zayed saying the measures were provisional during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Pakistan is one of 13 Muslim-majority countries the UAE has stopped issuing employment and visit visas for. The list also includes Iran, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Kenya, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey.

"[The UAE] welcomes the Pakistani community. More than 1.5 million of Pakistani expats enjoy security, safety and stability in their second country – the UAE," WAM quoted the official as saying.

This meeting was the second between the two foreign ministers since the UAE announced its decision to suspend visas.

"The close relations between the UAE and Pakistan have continued to strengthen over the past decades, and translated into multi-faceted cooperation, which represents a unique case in Arab-Asian relations in the region, as political relations between the UAE and Pakistan are based on a long history of joint action, trust, and respect," Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said.

Last month, Businesses were notified that the immigration circular would become effective on 18 November.

Read also: Over 50,000 Israelis visited UAE since commercial flight agreement: report

Reuters cited a source claiming the temporary ban was introduced over security concerns as the UAE began to welcome tourists from Israel.

The move sparked speculation from citizens of effected countries.

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