Courtesy - Gulf News, Khaleej Times & Other Authors for Contents of this Free Service Site

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TO CHECK YOUR WORK PERMIT STATUS (UAE), Labour Card Information, Salary Certificate etc

TO CHECK YOUR WORK PERMIT STATUS (UAE), Labour Card Information, Salary Certificate etc

Go to this Web Site and Enter Your Work Permit No./Labour Card No etc, to get the status or information
Click on Enquiry Services in left hand side

Select Which Service you need now, and input the required information, get the result


Monday, June 4, 2012

Passports seized in Dish TV crackdown

DUBAI: Passports of residents using illegal decoders are being confiscated in a crackdown on satellite TV piracy, sending shivers down the spine of many Asian residents who have Dish TV at home, XPRESS has learnt.
A few days before the crackdown, warnings were posted at the entrances of some buildings in Bur Dubai and Karama, though not all the building residents were aware of the magnitude of the offence and the penalties.
Passports and Dish TV decoders of at least two Indian expatriates were confiscated in one building in Bur Dubai, XPRESS can confirm. "We were not aware that this would cause us big trouble," said the resident who confirmed his passport was confiscated, but requested that his name remain anonymous.
"My husband is now under a lot of pressure because of this," said a housewife in Bur Dubai. "He's really depressed about the whole thing. We are simple families. My husband had been told he needs to get a clearance from the courts to have his passport back, but at this point, we really don't know what will happen next."
Another family member on Wednesday said the passports were seized ten days ago, adding: "We don't know who seized the passports. We just gave it. They said a call will come."
It is not clear who confiscated the passports as both the police and Department of Economic Development (DED) denied they had anything to do with the sweep. "Dubai Police did not confiscate any passports, and it did not initiate any crackdown of this sort," said Major Rashid Bin Safwan, the head of CID media. "DED staff didn't confiscate Dish boxes in two flats in Bur Dubai," a DED spokesperson e-mailed XPRESS. Tens of thousands of homes in the UAE, especially among people from India and Pakistan, are believed to be tapping signals using illegal satellite TV decoders.

Illegal set-top boxes allow viewers access to Dish TV, Tata Sky, Sun Direct and similar services that include about 200 television channels — at a much cheaper cost than licensed services in the UAE. A cable TV industry estimate shows six in 10 South Asian families tap "overspill" TV signals from India, using boxes such as Dish TV. These operators offer their signals at a fraction of the cost of those offered by UAE-based providers such as eVision, ePehla, Arab Digital Distribution (ADD) and Orbit Showtime Network.
Many residents here bring their own boxes or decoders from India and pay subscription fees online. Facebook and Google throw up online ads for UAE residents to renew Dish TV subscriptions.
Earlier last year, about 50 buildings in Al Ghusais were raided by intellectual property enforcers as part of a drive to smoke out satellite TV piracy. Several people were arrested at that time.
It appears that the anti-piracy drive against illegal satellite TV is being conducted ahead of the forthcoming Euro 2012, the world's second-biggest soccer championship after the World Cup, when many will want to watch the matches.
Star Sports, ESPN, TEN Action are some of the channels which show these matches live to Indian audiences in the sub-continent through Dish TV.
In the past, raids on buildings and shops that use or sell illegal satellite TV receivers have pushed the business underground.
"If deportation is the penalty, half of this town will be gone at the end of this crackdown," said one resident who confirmed his passport had been taken by a anti-TV piracy team. Authorities had earlier warned of serious "consequences" — including a Dh20,000 fine and deportation — for both consumers and operators who rig cables to allow people to skip payments to watch premium channels

Employers responsible for renewing visas during periods of labour dispute

Sharjah: The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs in Sharjah stressed that employers are responsible for renewing the residency visas of their employees during a period of labour disputes.
Dr. Brigadier Abdullah Bin Sahoo, Director General of Sharjah's Residency and Foreigner Affairs, told the Arabic Daily Al Khaleej that employers are still responsible for renewing the visas until the employee legally transfers his or her visa to another party, or leaves the country.
He called on institutions and private companies to renew the visas of employees who are currently involved in labour disputes as part of their social, legal and ethical responsibility.
Sahoo said that companies must inform their employees from refraining from illegal side-jobs, such as washing cars and illegal vendor activities.
He urged companies to be very particular about people they hire, and to ascertain an employee's qualifications and the validity of their documents presented regarding previous experience or aforementioned qualifications.
"Sometimes companies would hire uneducated employees and then sacking them, which results in negative phenomenon for various categories of society, such as tourists, visitors, and other workers. Most of these workers end up residing in the country illegally," Sahoo added.

What exactly does the law say about dressing indecently in the UAE?

What exactly does the law say about dressing indecently in the UAE? Is there a uniform rule that applies to all emirates or does it vary? Gulf News spoke to lawyers and police officials from various emirates to find out the law and possible punishments.
“ If a person's outfit or lack of clothing amounts to public indecency, such as when a person goes to a mall wearing no more than a swimming suit, for example, police will take action against that person”

Spokesperson from Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department

"There is no law concerning dress code in the UAE, or penalty guidelines for being dressed indecently," says Riad Al Kerdashi, lawyer and Court Advisor.
"However, some individuals in administrative positions in governmental authorities have their own opinions on what may deem appropriate, and may select to ban certain attires such as shockingly short or transparent clothes, etc.

"Some people in court refuse to service those who dress inappropriately. If it is not a law, then the judgment of the individual – within limits, or course, should be accepted – not necessarily respected, but if it is not breaking the law, then it cannot be penalized."

There is no law in the UAE forcing people to dress in a certain way, but respect towards the country's religion, culture and heritage is expected, according to Dubai Police.
"No one usually tells people what to wear but residents and visitors dress decently out of respect, not because they are forced to do so by the law," a spokesperson from Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department said.
"People from all over the world flock to Dubai to enjoy the beaches, malls and other attractions, and not all of them are aware of the culture here, although they should be," he said, adding that police only interfere if someone lodges a complaint.
"If a person's outfit or lack of clothing amounts to public indecency, such as when a person goes to a mall wearing no more than a swimming suit, for example, police will take action against that person."
The first time a person is caught he or she has to write an undertaking not to repeat the offence, and if they do, legal action is taken against them for public indecency.
On his part, Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah Al Mazyoudi, Director of Port Police Station, said 259 people had to sign an undertaking for dressing inappropriately on the beach in the first four months of 2012.
"These people were sunbathing or swimming in their underwear, which when wet becomes see-through, and they appear as if they were not wearing anything, or they removed part of their bathing suite," he said. On the other hand, 2,837 people were also made to write an undertaking for going to the beach fully clothed.
"People in swimming areas should not be wearing their full clothes and just watch others, because there are rules for going to the beach, and while undressing is not encouraged, so is staying fully dressed and watching or harassing other beachgoers," he added.
Police implemented a decency rule in 2001, in accordance with the directions of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
According to the rule, it was aimed to "express society's conscious need to stand against indecency, and to preserve public civility, and to clarify the proper concept of personal freedom of safeguarding other's rights."
An official at Sharjah Police explained that men are prohibited from wearing very short shorts in public or exposing their chest, not allowed to wear the wezar (national male underwear) and the lungi – a dress similar to a sarong popularly worn by South Asians.
"Women are prohibited from wearing clothes that expose their stomachs and their backs, short skirts above the knee, and also tight and transparent clothing that reveals the body," he said.
While women are not allowed to wear swimsuits on public beaches, the rule does not apply to hotels and private swimming pools. Residents and visitors found violating the rule will be given a verbal warning by police.

Evening visits to Al Ain Zoo are here again

Al Ain: With the weather getting hotter by the day, Al Ain Zoo has launched evening hours, which also offer visitors a view of the animals at their most active .
The change in opening times will kick in from June 1 and the night-time zoo will be open to visitors from 4 to 10pm until September 30, a spokesperson of the zoo said.
The changed timings will offer visitors "an opportunity to watch animals enjoying the cooler evenings as they would naturally in the wild, after resting during the heat of the day", she said.
Bird show
The popular bird show will take place at 7:30pm during weekdays and twice on Fridays at 6:15 and 7:30pm.
Family Nights that promise a richer recreational and educational experience will be held every Wednesday.

During Ramadan, family nights will be discontinued and the zoo will be open from 6pm to midnight.
Starting at 6pm, family nights will include a fun-packed evening of children's sports, games, and cartoon movies among other attractions. There will be a choice of ten sports including golf, football and volleyball for youngsters.
All exhibits will be open during the summer evening hours with regular feedings scheduled to keep the animals energetic and lively for night-time visitors.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy a special parrot show at the Zoo's education centre at 5:15pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Henna, arts and crafts, and face painting activities will add to the fun.
Cartoons will be screened at the picnic area near the train station at 8pm on a 6 x 4.5 metre screen.
Saif Al Daheri, manager for admissions and guest relations at Al Ain Zoo, said: "The summer offers a different and exciting way to experience the zoo and we look forward to welcoming our enthusiastic summer visitors once again."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sponsoring a relative to visit

Expatriates who have valid residency papers can apply for a visit visa for relatives or friends, but must fulfil certain conditions

Dubai:According to the Naturalisation and Residency Department (NRD) law, if the sponsored relative is a female, she should not be less than 25 years of age.
If an expatriate wants to sponsor his wife and children on a visit visa, he should personally apply at the NRD at the emirate which issued him residency visa.
Papers needed
The papers needed are: passport copies of the applicant as well his wife and children, marriage contract attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; attested work contract if working with a private company, or salary certificate if working in the public sector.

The salary of the expatriate should not be less than Dh3,000 per month with accommodation or Dh4,000 per month without accommodation. The applicant need not pay any deposit. He must get an e-gate card.
The e-form application will cost Dh100; another Dh100 if the visa is needed urgently, as well as Dh10 for delivery of the visa through Empost.

If an expatriate wishes to sponsor his parents on a visit visa, the application must be submitted personally at the NRD. The papers required are passport copies and an attested letter from the embassy proving the relationship.
Also needed are: an attested work contract if the person is working in a private company or a salary certificate if working in the government sector. The minimum salary requirements are the same: not less than Dh3,000 per month with accommodation or Dh4,000 per month without accommodation. No deposit is required, but the applicant must get an e-gate card.
If you are sponsoring a relative, a deposit of Dh2,000 is required and the salary must not be less than Dh5,000 per month with accommodation. But if you are sponsoring a brother or sister, the salary and accommodation allowance should be Dh6,000.
An expatriate can also sponsor two friends on visit at a time, but the salary requirements are higher - not less than Dh10,000 and Dh2,000 refundable deposit for each person which is returned after the friends leave the country. One should keep the receipt safely and present it for the refund.
Ceiling for categories
Some of the monthly salary requirements for sponsoring relatives or friends on a visit visa
•Wife or husband's parents or grandparents. Salary must be Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 and accommodation facility.

•Wife or husband's brothers and sisters and their sons and daughters who are less than 18 years. Salary should be Dh5,000 per month and Dh2,000 as deposit.

•Sister's or brother's sons and daughters. Salary must be Dh6,000 and Dh2,000 deposit for those above 18 years.

•Grandsons under 18 years of age. Salary must be Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 with accommodation facility. No deposit is required.

•Adult grandsons. Salary must be Dh6,000 as well as a deposit of Dh2,000.

•Cousin. Salary of Dh8,000 and deposit Dh2,000.

•Wife's minor sons and daughters. Salary of Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 with accommodation facility.

•Wife, sons and daughters. Salary of Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 with accommodation facility.

•A friend. Salary of Dh10,000. One can sponsor only two friends at a time. If there are more, one should justify the reason for the visit of so many friends

Housewives can take up jobs

Women must not be employed in any job that is unsafe, hard or damaging to their health. An expatriate woman who is sponsored by a father or husband can work in any job, even if she is listed in the resident visa as housewife.

Dubai: In a bid to protect working women's rights, the UAE Federal Labour Law and the UAE residency and entry law allows women to work in any profession but under specific conditions.

Women must not be employed in any job that is unsafe, hard or damaging to their health. An expatriate woman who is sponsored by a father or husband can work in any job, even if she is listed in the resident visa as housewife.

The woman only needs to obtain a labour card which should be renewed every year. Some companies are ready to employ women on their father's or husband's sponsorship but some prefer that the woman they employ be sponsored by the company. Women need an approval from the husband or father if they wish to work.

The labour card of a working women sponsored by the husband or the father will be cancelled automatically when the card expires and is not renewed at the Ministry of Labour. Companies will have to reapply every year for a new labour card.

Labour card fees

The fee for a labour card for a working woman sponsored by her husband or father is Dh1,200, to be paid in two installments: Dh200 at the time of submitting the application and the remaining Dh1,000 at the time of the ministry approval. The fees have to be paid by e-dirham.

The employer should pay the fees. Working women also do not need to give their passport to the employer. She should also keep her labour card with her.
But if the woman wants to transfer sponsorship from her father or husband to work in the private sector, she needs approval of the previous sponsor and the new sponsor.

She also needs approval from the Ministry of Labour if her work is among the categories that are subject to the Labour Law. She would further need approval of the residency department.

The expatriate wife or daughter who has a work visa and then leaves the job, should apply at the Naturalisation and Residency Department, to amend her status.

Employment: Specific conditions

•According to the UAE Labour Law, a working expatriate woman, sponsored by the husband or father, is not allowed to work late into the night.
•A wife or daughter who leaves a job, cannot transfer her sponsorship to her husband or father directly, but should apply again for a new entry permit.
•Employers are not allowed to employ women to work for 11 uninterrupted hours.
•Employers are not allowed to make women to work at their establishments from 11pm at night till 7am next day in the morning.
•It is not allowed to hire women to work in any dangerous kind of work.
•Women who work in the field of health can work at night but should not do manual work.
•They can work at night on emergency cases.
•They can work at night if they are working in a directorial position or technical work.
•Women's salary should be equal to that of men, if the work performed is the same.
•Working women have the right to maternity leave.

To become a nurse in UAE

To maintain a high standard of service, the UAE has set specific regulations for those who wish to work as nurses in the government or private sectors.
Dubai:It is required that nurses continuously work on developing their nursing skills and knowledge on a regular basis. To protect people's health and safety, the Ministry of Health has stressed that all nurses or midwives must meet a minimum criteria to practice their occupation here.
Nurses can apply for a job at the Ministry of Health in Abu Dhabi or Dubai and if the application is accepted, the person may work at any of the seven emirates.
If the nurse wishes to work only for the Dubai Government, the application should be sent to the Department of Health and Medical Services in Dubai (DOHMS).

If the applicant is a legal resident in the UAE, then he or she should apply directly at the Ministry of Health. Applicants can obtain information about vacancies by approaching the Federal Nursing Department at the MOH.
All qualified nurses applying for MOH employment must complete the needed registration necessities and should appear for an examination at the ministry.
Assistant nurses and helpers do not need to obtain the ministry's requirements. For example, nurses applying for a position with the MOH at a grade higher than assistant technician, then he or she must register with the Federal Department of Nursing.

There are specific countries from where applicants are exempted from the ministry's examination which is part of registration. Details about those courtiers can be obtained from the federal nursing department at the MOH.
Those applying for a nursing job online from overseas through the ministry's website can complete their registration requirements after joining the services here.
Those who are residing here have to complete their registration requirements before applying for a job.
Needed documents
Nurses must submit the following documents to the Ministry of Health and then their files will be assessed for employment.
- Bio-data, C.V. which should be in English
- Copies of their certificates or degrees
- Copies of their post-graduate diplomas or degree certificates.
- A copy of their school leaving certificate or comparable certificates.
- Copy of the current nursing licence which should be authorised from the home country of applicant.
- Copy of his or her work experience, signed by a senior official. The work experience documents should show starting date of employment, date of leaving employment and should mention the post held.
- A passport copy, including entry permits to the UAE. Those who have a valid residence visa must submit a copy.
- Three passport size photos.
- Fill in an application form.
- All documents must be translated into Arabic.
- If the nurse passes the interview and the examination. he or she will be given the post of nurse in accordance with the qualifications.
- The job will be at any of the ministry's hospitals, clinics or in any medical district in any of the seven emirates.

Sponsoring your parents

Expatriates who have a valid resident visa in UAE can sponsor their parents for a year's stay by paying a Dh5,000 deposit as guarantee for each parent.

Dubai:But according to new regulations, you cannot sponsor only one of your parents and have to sponsor your father and the mother together, with proof that you are their sole supporter and they have no one to take care of them back home.
If one of your parents has passed away or if you are divorced, you have to show papers to prove that to the Naturalisation and Residency Department, as justification why you want to sponsor only one of your parents.

The son or daughter must also prove he or she is the only supporter of the parents and that there is no one to take care of them back home.
One should apply for the residency visa for parents at the department which issued his or her own resident visa.

The son or the daughter can sponsor the parents or the father and mother-in- law. In order to be able to sponsor your parents or father and mother-in-law, one should have a minimum salary not less than Dh6,000 with accommodation allowance or minimum salary of Dh7,000.
They also need to obtain a medical insurance policy for both with a minimum coverage of Dh600 for each, to be renewed each year.

Now besides a medical health check, an HIV test is also needed before applying for the residence visa.
To obtain a residence visa for the parents, one has to show proof to the Naturalisation and Residency Department that there is a humanitarian issue that requires to sponsor them and that the son or daughter are their lone supporters.

The expatriate should also obtain a letter from his or her embassy or consulate certifying that the person is the sole supporter.

The Dh5,000 guarantee deposit will be returned after the parents leave the country and the visa is cancelled or the parent dies.

- The UAE has allowed sponsoring the residency of parents because of ‘humanitarian reasons’ as elderly parents should be taken care of by their children, according to the Interior Ministry.

- Earlier, you could sponsor your parent for a residency visa without having to pay Dh5,000 as refundable guarantee. The new rule implemented few months ago now requires the deposit.

- All expatriates can sponsor their parents but the sponsor’s minimum salary should be Dh6,000, with housing allowance.

-You will now also need a Dh600 medical insurance policy for your parents.

-One can sponsor the father-in-law or mother-in-law, under the same conditions.

-The residence visa for the parents is valid for one year only and should be cancelled or renewed after the end of the validity.

-If you fail to renew or cancel the visa, the parents will be deemed to be illegal overstayers and will have to pay a fine.

Official: Labour ministry contract supersedes all other documents

Dubai: The Ministry of Labour contract takes precedence over all agreements between employer and employee and is the only document that is recognised by the authorities, the ministry has warned.
A senior labour ministry official told Gulf News any contract between the employer and the employee other than the labour contract will not be taken into consideration.
The warning comes after some employees have complained that they are being deprived of their rights as laid down in the labour ministry's contract.
A group of insurance specialists have alleged that their company is cheating employees by forcing them to sign a letter of intent and depriving them of rights guaranteed by the labour ministry's contract, including basic pay and gratuity.

Paying back commission
The employees who work for Nexus Insurance Brokers told Gulf News that the company was unwilling to accept resignation letters unless the staff hand over all commissions they earned last year.

Documents obtained by Gulf News show the employees have a limited labour contract under which they are given a basic salary of Dh0.001 and Dh6,000 for accommodation, transportation and other allowances.
The letter of intent, which the insurance specialists were forced to sign, says employees were issued a labour contract because it is a requirement of the UAE law. The principal purpose of the labour contract will be to "sponsor employees' activities in the UAE and does not constitute in part or full their contract with Nexus".
"All benefits mentioned in the labour contract issued by the labour department and any other benefit such as accommodation, transportation, leave, air ticket, leave salary, entertainment, gratuity and other benefits are in fact included in commission, and may be stated separately in the labour contract only for the purpose of enabling you to sponsor your family and domestic help in the UAE," the letter of intent says.
R.J., an employee, said they were forced to sign an undertaking that if the company was required by law and the labour contract to pay a certain amount to them, the employees must repay the company commission and collection fees. He alleged that the company does not accept resignations till employees pay back what they have earned in the form of commissions in their last year at work.
"Unless we give them the last year's earnings, they will not cancel our visas," B.F., a former employee, said. "When I resigned, the company handed me a letter that said my resignation would be accepted, but I must first pay a cheque amounting to my last year's earnings. Only then would they give me a release letter."
Employer reaction
Hussain Ayyash, legal and human resources director at Nexus Insurance Brokers, told Gulf News that all the letters of intent are legal and issued to protect the company's rights. "Our employees work on commissions and they earn a huge amount of money. As the employees work on commissions, they have no labour rights. We issue employees a labour contract as a formality as we have to issue it. The labour contract contains certain allowances, which helps employees sponsor their families. But we do not work according to the labour contract. For us, it does not exist."
He said he had filed a complaint at the labour ministry against some employees who had recently resigned and joined competing firms. "We also have to take back commissions they earned in the last year of work with us," Ayyash said.
Gulf News has learnt that the labour court recently ordered Nexus Insurance Brokers to pay Dh20,000 as end of service benefits to a British consultant who resigned and complained against the company to the labour ministry.
Mohammad Bin Dakhin, Director of Governmental Communication at the labour ministry, told Gulf News that any agreement between the employer and the employee other than the labour contract would not be taken into consideration. "In case of dispute between the employer and the employee, the ministry will only consider the ministry's contract," he said.
Bin Dakhin said a letter of intent or internal contracts between the employer and employee are not accepted. "It is illegal to consider that the labour contract has been issued only to allow employees to sponsor their families. Denying workers the rights mentioned in the labour contract is illegal," he said. Bin Dakhin said that any contract between the employer and employee not signed and approved by the labour ministry is not a legal document.
Call helpline

Residents must call the toll-free helpline 800665 for any labour-related issues, including contracts, work conditions, labour cards and work permits, Mohammad Bin Dakhin, Director of Governmental Communication at the Ministry of Labour, said.
"If workers are asked to sign agreements other than the labour contract, they must contact the ministry to enquire about the legality of the documents," he said. The ministry's helpline caters to 14 languages. Residents can also visit labour care units if they need help.



The United Arab Emirates is the united form of seven emirates and are; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Um Al-Quwain, Fujairah, & Ras Al-Khaimah. Abu Dhabi is the capital of United Arab Emirates (in short, UAE).


Abu Dhabi is one of the most modern cities in the world. It is the center of government and business life in the UAE, headquarters of the emirates oil operating companies and embassies are based here. The architecture of its modern buildings and sky scrapers is the finest in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi's oil wealth has been wisely utilized to encourage a healthy trade and commerce atmosphere apart from oil industries too. The promotion of tourism and various tourism-related projects will elevate Abu Dhabi to a Singaporean status in the region. Large gardens and parks, green boulevards lining all the streets and roads, sophisticated high-rise buildings, state-of-the-art communication services and transport, the presence of all the international luxury hotel chains, rich shopping malls, cultural centers and events provide tourists a one-of-a-kind experience all the year round.

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven Emirates and the Federal capital of the UAE. Its long coastline - the shallow waters of the Southern Gulf, extending from the base of the Qatar Peninsula in the west to the border of the emirate of Dubai on the north east, was once the world's best waters for pearling. When the pearling industry declined, oil discovery in the offshore oilfields of the Southern Gulf revived the economy of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi was also the first emirate to export oil from the Umm Shaif offshore field in 1962. On the land, it stretches south to the oases of Liwa where some of the world’s largest sand dunes can be found, and east to the ancient oasis of Al Ain. This makes Abu Dhabi the largest as well as the most populated of all the emirates.

Desert Heritage

The emirate was inhabited as far back as the third millennium BC, but the Abu Dhabi of today only truly came into existence in the latter half of the 18th century when it was first settled by the Bani Yas tribe in 1761. In the early days of the 20th century the economy of Abu Dhabi was centered on camel herding, date oases, fishing and pearl diving.

The discovery of oil in 1958 and its subsequent export from 1962 produced a sudden upsurge in Abu Dhabi 's prosperity and laid the foundations of today's modern society. Abu Dhabi was the first emirate to export oil and under the leadership of the late and much revered HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the subsequent revenues were wisely invested in the infrastructure of the emirate.


The city’s progressive vision is tempered with a deep-seated respect for traditions and culture, and tucked away between modern towers are heritage locales that tell tales of Abu Dhabi’s past. Priority has been given not only to future development but to rediscovering the past through archaeology, the restoration of buildings, museums, establishing indigenous wildlife parks and much more. Traditional musicians, calligraphers, artists and craftsmen are encouraged to develop their skills and thereby prevent their ancient crafts from dying out. The artifacts and tools of pearl divers, fishermen and dhow builders are carefully preserved and displayed. Especially honored is the Bedouin way of life. Even though nomadic societies leave little in the way of permanent structures, the people of Abu Dhabi aspire to the noble traditions and values of their desert ancestors.


Places of Interest

The city of Dubai embraces its namesake creek, dividing it into two halves. The main sightseeing circuit in Dubai is split between Bur Dubai and Deira which lie on opposite sides of the water, and the gently curving Dubai Creek is an attraction in itself. You will have plenty of opportunities for some brilliant views of the city from the water: gleaming skyscrapers on one side, and old trading dhows on the other.

Deira's many attractions include the historic quarter of Bastakia, as well as old souks and covered marketplaces. Wandering along the alleys, you can explore the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk. The Dubai Museum is housed within the beautifully restored Al Fahidi Fort, and is a must-see for first time visitors to Dubai. Built in 1799 to defend the city against invasion, it has served as both palace and prison and the museum's collection includes life-size figures and galleries depicting Arab houses, mosques, date gardens, desert and marine life.

On the Bur Dubai side, Heritage Village, located in the Shindagah area, is a family destination where you can watch potters, weavers and artisans at their crafts. The adjoining Diving Village offers a cultural microcosm of pearl diving and fishing. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, a museum restored from the house of Dubai's former ruler and dating back to the late 1800s, is within the same complex. With its unusual layered rooms and authentic wind towers, Sheikh Saeed's House showcases regional architecture at its best.

If you drive west from the city centre, you will reach the popular suburb of Jumeirah, home to some of Dubai's finest luxury hotels and resorts, unspoilt stretches of sunny beaches and water sports complexes. In Jumeirah is the Grand Mosque, re-built in 1998, with the city's tallest minaret, nine large domes and 45 small domes - a distinguished landmark and an important place of worship.

About 115 Km south east of Dubai, in the heart of the rocky Hatta Mountains, is the 3000 year old Hatta Village, an important historical site for the region. The two towers overlooking the village used to be defense fortresses against hostile invaders, and during a relaxed day at the Village, you can visit the Houses of Traditional Handicrafts and Palm Products, The Castle Centre, and the 200 year old Sharia Mosque.

In contrast to the traditional attractions of Dubai and the surrounding areas, the city boasts world-class business and leisure facilities.

Best Buys and Bargains

Dubai is a veritable shopper's paradise! Whether it is for gold, electronics, carpets, spices, textiles or more.

The city is one of the largest retail gold markets in the world, selling everything from ingots to intricately hand crafted jewellery, and bargaining is welcomed almost everywhere. The Gold Souk area in Deira has glittering street-front stores and hides dozens of alleys housing smaller shops. The newly built Gold and Diamond Park on Sheikh Zayed Road is an attraction for serious jewellery shoppers.

The city is also home to some of the Middle East region's most prestigious shopping malls, boutiques and department stores that house retailers of haute couture, hi-tech electronics, home furnishings and accessories or traditional Arabic crafts. Dubai is famous for offering top international brands at unbelievably reasonable prices.

The larger shopping mall complexes also house cinema theatres, food courts, entertainment centers and play areas for children, allowing for complete family shopping experiences.

Choose to browse through the older markets and the narrow walkways located in the Meena Bazaar, Karama and Naif areas, dedicated to inexpensive reproductions of international brands; leather goods and textiles; computer and electrical accessories and Arabic perfumes.

Most shopping venues and cultural destinations sell a range of gifts and souvenirs representing Dubai: The Seven Sands of the UAE, traditional Bedouin jewellery, sand art, packaged dates and date products, Arabic sweets, wooden crafts and palm leaf handicrafts.

Seasonal Highlights

Dubai has a very eventful social calendar. With international sporting events, shopping and entertainment festivals, music and cultural programmes held at various indoor and outdoor venues all year around.

Varying from the world's richest horse race - The Dubai World Cup, and international jazz festivals, to the home grown Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai also hosts regionally significant exhibitions and trade shows on a regular basis.

While the actual dates of many important events are timed to match the season, the Lunar calendar and the holy month of Ramadan change from year to year. The chart below provides a guideline to the city's many events:

January - The Dubai Marathon, Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai International Jazz Festival, Emirates Cup Traditional Dhow Sailing Race, Dubai International Sailing Week Regatta

February - The Dubai Terry Fox Run, Dubai Tennis Championships

March - Dubai Desert Golf Classic, Dubai World Cup, Dubai International Kite Surfing Challenge

April - International Jewellery exhibition

May - Local and international events

June - Dubai Summer Surprises, UAE National Sailing Championship

July - Dubai Summer Surprises

August - Dubai Summer Surprises

September - Gulf IT Exhibition (GITEX), Local and international events (Dubai, the City that Cares festival)

October - UAE Desert Challenge

November - Horse racing season, Dubai Traditional Dhow Sailing Race

December - Rugby 7s, Dubai Air Show, Dubai Grand Prix, National Day celebrations

Rest and Recreation

Dubai is an exciting year round destination that offers unlimited opportunities for rest and recreation, be it a walk through a lush green family park, an adventurous day in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, or a pampering session at one of the many health spas.

Beaches: Some of Dubai's beaches are attached to private hotels, where, for a small fee, you can spend the day on the sand and in the waters of the Arabian Gulf. Other beaches and waterfronts - the Corniche and the Creek - are free for public access, and feature a range of water sports offered by several operators.

Desert safaris: One of Dubai's most popular tourist attractions is the desert safari: a unique experience that combines an adventurous 4WD car ride over sand dunes with camels, belly dancers, henna designers, falconers, and a barbecue dinner by starlight. Other attractions include sand skiing, sand boarding, sand carting and 4WD desert driving

Fishing: The warmth and shelter of the Gulf attract a large variety of fish, and several local companies provide full and half day trips to the best fishing waters about 12Km offshore from the mainland.

Golf: Dubai has the unique distinction of being the only golfing centre in the world to host major international tournaments on both the European and Asian PGA circuits. Visiting golfers can choose from various clubs and courses, each of championship quality and presenting a different type of challenge.

Treatments and therapies: Dubai is home to an extraordinary number of spas and wellness clinics, ranging from internationally renowned brands to ancient Chinese and Indian holistic treatments.


Sharjah is a city of learning and the arts, as confirmed by its 1998 UNESCO designation as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. This context facilitates the university's intention to be an academic center at the intersection of ancient cultural traditions and contemporary intellectual currents. The city of Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums with splendid collections of artifacts and art as well as exhibits on science and natural history. Sharjah host many cultural festivals, educational conferences, fairs and economic expositions also. These resources permit the university to broaden students' formal education in a way not possible elsewhere in the region.

Strategically situated between the Far East and the West, Sharjah is a global trade center. The third largest of the seven states that form the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah probably has the most colorful history of all the Emirates. From the days of the early trading with the East to the settlement of the Qawasim seafaring tribe and into the first half of the 19th century, Sharjah was the most important port on the lower Arabian Gulf.

It was here that the British chose to set up their military base and the Trucial Coast's first international airport was established in 1932. The flow of oil into the UAE and the recent gas revenue has sustained Sharjah's modern development. But it is perhaps the people, a lively trading tradition and the culture that have created and maintained the unique flavor of the Sharjah Emirate.

Sharjah has beautiful beaches on the shores of the Arabian Gulf in the West, the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean in the East. Sharjah is the only emirate to have land on both the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Geographically, Sharjah emirate covers approximately 2,600 square kilometers.


The Emirate of Ajman is situated on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, extending over a distance of 16 km, between the emirates of Umm al-Qaiwain and Sharjah. The area of the emirate is 259 square kilometers, equivalent to 0.3% of the country's total area, excluding the islands. The town of Ajman, the capital of the emirate, lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It comprises the Ruler's office, companies, banks and commercial markets. The port of Ajman is located along a natural creek (Khor) which penetrates the town. The two major regions in the emirate are Masfout, an agricultural area, lying at a distance of 110 Km long at the South east, and Manama located 60 km to the east.


Umm al-Qaiwain is situated between Ajman and Ras al-Khaimah on the West coast. The traditional occupation of this emirate has been fishing and date cultivation.

Umm al-Qaiwain's attraction lies in its long clean beaches, an enclosed lagoon and public horse riding stables. Located 50 Km south of Umm Al Qaiwain is Falaj Al Mulla, the agricultural part of the Emirate. Seneyah Island, one kilometer away from the town of Umm al-Qaiwain, is a natural reserve for a large species of birds, deer and Al Qaram trees.


Ras al-Khaimah is the northern most emirate of the UAE. It’s history extends into antiquity. Archeological excavations reveal that a settlement with an advanced civilization that carried on trade with the Indian sub-continent existed in this region. Later historical records cite that the town of Ras al-Khaimah, then known as Julfar, belonged to early Muslim Caliphs. In the 18th century, after the invasions of the Persians, Portuguese and the Dutch, it finally became a part of the Al Qawasim State. It was also once the center of the naval strength of the southern Gulf States.

The traditional occupations of this emirate are mainly fishing, trading and agriculture which have been heavily modernized to meet the demands of the UAE's economy. Fruits, vegetables, milk; poultry are supplied to the other emirates from here.

The sea around Ras al-Khaimah abounds in tuna fish. The mountains have enabled the set up of stone quarries and a cement factory. Also the oilfield of Saleh, has boosted up the revenues of the emirate.

Mina Saqr, located next to the town of Ras al-Khaimah, is a deepwater port with heavily utilized bulk handling facilities where major amounts of transshipment takes place. It can handle vessels up to 260 meters long and 11.5 meters maximum draught and is ideal for low cost general cargo and container handling.


Fujairah holds a unique position in the UAE. It is the only emirate that lies on the eastern side of the UAE, along the Gulf of Oman, while all the six other emirates are along the Arabian Gulf.

The Hajar mountain range that divides the UAE in two, from Ras al-Khaimah to Al Ain has kept Fujairah separated from the rest of the country.

Fujairah's main occupations in the past were fishing and agriculture. Pearl fishing was non-existent because the waters of the Gulf of Oman were much deeper and colder than the Arabian Gulf, not suitable for the growth of pearl oysters.

The Fujairah port is an important port for container liners and for the world's largest livestock shipping companies which have set up their main holding station for sheep and cattle for the entire Arabian Peninsula here.

Its clean beaches, the numerous water sports like swimming, yachting, water surfing and deep sea fishing attract tourists all round the year. The Fujairah Tourism Bureau has the specific task of promoting in bound tourism. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries are planning to build a dam in this area where there is a famous waterfall.