The number of Brazilians seeking job opportunities in the United Arab Emirates is rising. According to information supplied by the communications department at the Emirati embassy in Brazilian capital BrasÀlia, the request for work visas has been rising in the last four years.
The requests, which used to be between one and two a year, rise as high as six in some months, according to information supplied by the department.
The United Arab Emirates planning ministry figures show that among the four million people that live in the country, 75% are foreign. According to the embassy, most of the Brazilians who go to the Emirates are doctors, communications professionals and athletes.
The Brazilian ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Flávio Moreira Sapha, states that the football clubs in the Emirates are very interested in Brazilian football players.
Apart from the players, however, there is another kind of athlete working at gyms and clubs. Communications professionals, according to the Emirati embassy in Brasília, normally work in the company Public Relations departments.
Ambassador Sapha stated that the majority of the Brazilians who work in the Emirates are taken by Brazilian companies that open representation offices, units of local offices in the country.
According to him, however, the volume of Brazilians working in the country is very small. At the Brazilian embassy in Abu Dhabi, around 300 Brazilians are registered.
Not all the Brazilians living in the country, however, enrol at the embassy. Only those who need some sort of assistance or diplomatic service.
Different from what occurs in other countries in the world, so as to work in the Emirates, you must have a work contract before you leave Brazil.
Visas may be requested by companies in the country. It is the company that sends the documents to the immigration division in the government of the Emirates and specifies the period of time the foreigner will spend in the country.
The same occurs with tourist trips. The foreigner gets in contact with the hotel where he wants to say, and the hotel asks for the visa. If the visitor wants to stay at the house of some friend or relative, it is the person who lives in the country who has to request entry into the Emirates.
According to the embassy of the Arab country in Brazil, as the immigration control system in the country is automated, all the foreigner has to do is go to the airport carrying his passport.
The system will already have the information about his stay and permission for entry into the country. Control, however, is rigorous. If a person goes to the country and gets a job, it is necessary to change his visa.
Population on the Rise
The population of the Emirates is among those growing most among the Arab countries. In 2003, the number of residents in the country rose 7.6%, according to information supplied by the country news agency, Emirates News Agency.
The residents in the country rose from 3.754 million people in 2002 to 4.041 million people at the end of 2003. This is the second largest population in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), losing only to Saudi Arabia.
Immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Sri Lanka represent 40% of the population. According to information published by newspaper Khaleej Times, due to the fact that the country economy is growing and that the Emirates have become a trade hub in the region, the country is attracting a large number of foreigners.
Fearing that this movement may eliminate work opportunities for people born in the country, the government of the United Arab Emirates determined, during the year of 2004, that commercial establishments with more than 50 employees must have at least 2% of Emirati nationals on their work force.
The demand, stipulated for just some regions where jobs are most sought, must be complied with as from 2005. In the banking sector, the rate is even greater, 4%, and in the insurance area, 5%.
According to the most recent information by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Emirates, just 3% of the native population does not have a job in the country.
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency