THERE are speculations from the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry for Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) that the restriction on work permits for Nigerian nationals may have been lifted, and Nigerians who previously were denied applications can reapply.
The MOHRE governs all work-related issues and is responsible for issuing work permits (or labour cards) and imposing labour bans “on those who are entitled to one”.
The speculation emerged on Tuesday even though Emirates direct flights between Nigeria and the UAE remain suspended indefinitely.
Some Nigerians residing in the country have confirmed the news from MOHRE to this newspaper and are optimistic that they will get their expired work permits renewed soon to guarantee their continued stay in the UAE.
However, Tasheel, a government centre in charge of work permit applications under the directive of MOHRE, said they do not have any update yet on the situation when contacted on Tuesday. Previous applications by Nigerians through Tasheel were denied as it said work permit applications were closed to Nigerians when the Government insisted the ban was non-existent.
It is, therefore, not clear whether this is yet another gimmick by the UAE government as applications for a work permit can only be filed through Tasheel, but Nigerians are already taking steps to test this new directive from MOHRE.
The UAE restricted work permits, and visa restrictions targeted only Nigerians since July. More than 300 Nigerians residing in the country lost their jobs and were left stranded and frustrated. Several efforts between both governments to resolve the situation had proved unsuccessful.
In August, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad A. Taffaq, during a meeting with the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) at his office in Abuja, denied that Nigerians were placed on restriction.
“There has been no official restriction on Nigerians from what I believe as an official position from the UAE. The UAE is a very welcoming country and does not discriminate against any nationality. Everyone is welcome to come, work, and contribute,” he said.
NIDCOM subsequently, through a letter dated 12th November 2021, urged Nigerians in the country to continue to liaise with the Nigerian Mission at the UAE for advice and clarifications on the work permit restrictions “as we continue to monitor the development”.
A Nigerian Oluwatobi Emmanuel, who recently lost a high-pay job offer due to inability to renew his work permit, told The ICIR, “Until we see an approved work permit issuance to a Nigerian, we can’t authenticate this news”.