Speaking of the new visa, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade explained,
"Anyone who's living here, who's above 15 years old, can apply for a temporary job. We don’t want them to stop their education but it's a temporary visa to give them access to their market, shape up their skills and see the sectors they want to study and want to have a future in. It's a relaxation from us to ensure students have access to the market."
Until now, part-time jobs have been hard to come by for teenagers in the UAE, something that many parents see as a right of passage and an important stepping stone into the world of full-time jobs and careers. While many UAE schools offer internships and work experience programmes, paid part-time work was previously not allowed.
UAE parents have welcomed the change. American born Mum, Kate Walker was pleased by the news, saying that having a part time job as a teen helped her to develop skills that complemented her education,
“I worked several jobs as a teenager; in grocery stores, dog walking, in a salon and lots more! Looking back, I can see that they helped me learn to interact with all different types of people as well as helping me understand the value of the money in my pocket. I’m pleased my own kids can now have this same experience here in the UAE”.
In a second measure, parents will be soon be permitted to sponsor their sons up until the age of 25. At present, parents are able to sponsor their male children until the age of 18 and daughters until marriage. Under the current rules, young men entering university in the UAE are able to apply for student visas, but quickly come to need a residency visa in order to stay on in the country post-graduation. This announcement does away with such challenges, and is likely to simplify the decision to stay in the UAE long term for many expat families.