UAE Visa seekers will have to pass Cultural Test, report

Dubai 7 July 2009 Expatriates applying for residency visa for UAE, in future will now need to pass a test of their knowledge of Emirates local culture. The resolve follows the Federal National Council calling for immigrants to have better understanding of UAE values and traditions, reports Khaleej Times.

Quoting Ahmed Shabeeb Al Dhahiri, First Deputy Speaker of the Federal National Council, the paper said a committee would be established by October to develop strategies to improve understanding of the country among expatriates.

The Council asked the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development to take steps to familiarise residents and immigrants with the country’s national identity, culture, social values, religion and local traditions.

“Too many people don’t know anything about our culture and there are many nationalities and every resident needs to know something about this country,” Al Dhahiri said in an interview with the newspaper.

The committee will draw up a series of easy questions that will comprise a test that expatriates must pass in order to get their residency visa, he added.

He said questions could include the following: “What is the country’s official religion?” and “What is the country’s flag? The committee will also establish a guide to the country’s traditions that will be issued to local embassies and consulates and also to their domestic counterparts, the paper said.

Al Dhahiri said foreign community associations can also educate their members on the customs, traditions and culture of the UAE, enabling them to better deal with UAE citizens.