KARACHI: United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced to open visa centers in Karachi and Islamabad this year in order to facilitate Pakistanis, said UAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Alzaabi.
UAE Embassy will be opening a visa center in Karachi which will become operational in the first week of September 2019 while another visa center will also become functional in Islamabad in the first week of October 2019 which would provide all facilities here in Pakistan.
“Everything will be here including the medical insurance, checkups and the contracts etc. to facilitate visa issuance from the visa center in Karachi which will be the biggest visa center of Asia while the entire team for this Visa Center at Khayaban-e-Shamsheer in Karachi will come from UAE”, he added while exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Friday.
Deputy Consul General of UAE Bakheet Ateeq Alremeithi, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President KCCI Khurram Shahzad, Vice President KCCI Asif Sheikh Javaid and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.
While expressing gratitude to KCCI for extending warm hospitality on his visit to KCCI, UAE Ambassador said that he has visited many areas of Pakistan including Faisalabad, Sialkot, Lahore, Peshawar, South Waziristan and Quetta but Karachi was one of the most important cities of Pakistan where social life, atmosphere, culture and people were very different as compared to other areas including Islamabad.
UAE Envoy stated that relations between Pakistan and UAE have always been very strong and historical but there was a need to further build these relations by exploring the opportunities and potential areas for enhancing trade and investment. “The governments of UAE and Pakistan are working very hard to narrow the gap and find opportunities, chances and potential for trade and investment”, he added.
“We are trying to find new areas of cooperation where we could work together and also examining the challenging areas so that these could be addressed by the authorities in UAE. Inshallah we will put our hands together to move forward in future”, he added.
He further informed that UAE was now offering Silver Investment Visa for 5 years and Golden Investment Visa for 10 years which were being issued under a specific criteria and depend on the size of a company and also the amount being invested.
He stressed the need for having legal framework between UAE and Pakistan to encourage and save investments made either in Pakistan or in UAE.
Agreeing to President KCCI’s suggestion of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between KCCI and UAE Chamber, he said it was really important so that a framework could be defined because when there was a gap and no official visits, the business communities and Chambers of Commerce simply will have no idea about the business potential in Pakistan and UAE. “Any suggestion from Karachi Chamber which pertains to signing MoUs, agreements, workshops, conferences and seminars will certainly be taken into consideration”, he assured, “We are ready to support you and whatever you need, we are always there at the UAE Embassy and Consulate in Karachi to assist you.”
Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, in his remarks, appreciated the support and cooperation being extended by UAE’s Embassy and its Consulate in Karachi as they have been fully facilitating KCCI’s visa requests from time to time and they haven’t faced any problems at all in this regard. However, he requested the Deputy Consul General to devise some kind of system in collaboration with KCCI so that visas could be issued to credible businessmen and industrialists with a personal guarantee by KCCI. He informed that Karachi Chamber thoroughly reviews and verifies all the documents being submitted by its members intending to obtain KCCI’s visa recommendation letter so that only genuine businessmen could avail this facility.
He also requested the Ambassador to only entertain visa recommendation letters and requests from those Chambers of Commerce and trade associations which were legally registered at the Ministry of Commerce. In Pakistan particularly in Karachi, there were a lot of paper-based and bogus forums and Councils etc. which were not legally registered, he noted, adding that in this regard, UAE Embassy can easily obtain a list of all legal Chambers of Commerce and trade bodies along with their jurisdiction details from the Ministry of Commerce that would help in better understanding the legalities and jurisdictions of 42 Chambers of Commerce and around 120 sector-specific trade associations in Pakistan, he added.
While welcoming the UAE Ambassador, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda expressed the intention to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with UAE Chamber in order to improve the trade and investment ties and bring business communities more close to each other. “We should work collectively to enhance bilateral trade and deal with all the irritants and barriers, particularly the non-tariff barriers between the two countries.”
He said that although tourist visa was being offered without any problem but the UAE government must also look into the possibility of issuing business visas to Pakistan’s business community.
Junaid Makda informed that around 1.6 million Pakistanis were residing in different cities of UAE. The country received remittance of $4.62 billion from UAE during Fiscal Year 2019, making it one of the most attractive destination for Pakistani workers.
He said, “Pakistan was going through a very hard time in terms of economic conditions but UAE’s support has been remarkable and we are very grateful for helping Pakistan with $3 billion balance-of-payments support.