By Spy Uganda
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has blacklisted Ugandans and Nigerians from entering its Abu Dhabi and Dubai cities, effective next month.
The development comes as UAE moves to streamline their working environment and curb the recent increase in illegal immigration and criminality.
Sources at Uganda’s embassy in Abu-Dhabi revealed that effective next week on Monday, October 3, 2022, no Ugandan or Nigerian will be allowed to enter the UAE without a certificate of good conduct and a float amount totalling 5,000 Dirham (Shs 5.3 million) on their bank account.
“The new guidelines apply to all Ugandans and Nigerians. Whether you are a tourist or a casual labourer or a housekeeper. You need to have Shs 5 million in your pocket to come to UAE; anything short of that, you remain home,” a source who preferred anonymity revealed.
The source further said that the Ugandan embassy in UAE had received complaints from the host country that; “Ugandans and Nigerians had turned into crooks, conning people and sleeping on streets.”
It should be noted the UAE government recently offered free air tickets to all illegal migrants to return home after asking them to surrender to immigration authorities or face imprisonment for illegal stay in the middle-east country.
The move accordingly saw 605 Ugandans deported back home after they had overstayed their welcome Visas and accumulated fines for various criminal offences. Of these, 105 were men, while 500 were women, infants, and pregnant mothers.
According to statistics, Uganda currently has over 100,000 legal migrant workers in the UAE, most of whom are in domestic jobs like housekeeping, while others are employed as security guards, cashiers, and alike.
If the new requirements are imposed by the UAE government, the move will be a big blow to external recruitment agencies in the country that often take Ugandans to work in the UAE as domestic workers can not afford to have the Shs 5 million on their accounts.
In response, however, Ronnie Mukundane, the spokesperson of the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), said the new directive applies only to visitors and those who travel independently other than through labour recruitment companies.
“The difference is that labour recruitment companies take Ugandans on employment visas. The blacklisted Ugandans and Nigerians are those who access UAE on a visit visa. If you say you are going for tourism, you must have some money to spend. UAE is deporting Ugandans who went on visit visas and over-stayed,” Mukundane said.
“If you are going to work, you must have an employment contract; so, you access UAE on an employment visa. The directive is not for us dealing in labour export,” he added.
According to records, Uganda collects US$1.2bn (Shs 4.5 trillion) from Ugandans working abroad. The Middle East alone sends in $600m (Shs 2.2 trillion) and $200m (Shs 762 billion) from UAE.