News headlines

Excerpts UAE Dailies

Computer snag hits issuance of visas at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah airports

ABU DHABI/SHARJAH — Dec. 20: A snag in the computer system, which reportedly originated at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, yesterday affected the issuance of transit and tourist visas at the airport in the capital as well as the Sharjah International Airport.

The glitch apparently forced airport officials at Abu Dhabi to shift to a contingency manual system to process travel documents. "The computer system broke down at 8am and the system failure continued for nearly 10 hours. Such a failure is not uncommon," a source told Khaleej Times, adding that the problem had been solved.

According to sources at the Abu Dhabi airport, no passenger missed flight or remained stranded at the airport. "The movement of flights and the influx of travellers were normal. We resorted to an emergency plan by which the papers were processed manually," said an official.

However, he said dealing with the data manually had been a "painful experience for the staff".

Regarding visitors who had their entry visas processed online and required original visa copies to enter the country, the official said they were allowed entry after the validity of their visas was confirmed. "We coordinated with the Dubai immigration authorities to verify the authenticity of the visit visas," he said.    

The technical problem also affected operations at the Immigration Section of the Sharjah International Airport. A number of passengers apparently had to wait for the release of their visas throughout the day.

A Sharjah resident said she was at the airport since early morning, along with her agent, for the release of a transit visa for her relative. "We were told our visa application had already been approved but but the immigration authorities could not print it due to the system failure," she added.

The agent said that although officials at the Immigration Section informed them about the snag, they could not give any assurance as to when the problem would be sorted out.

"They said they could not specify the time when it will start working again since the problem originated at the Ministry of Interior in Abu Dhabi," the agent said.

Airport authorities were not available for comments.

Dr Abdulla bin Sahoua, Director of the Department of Naturalisation and Residency (DNR) at Sharjah, said the authorities at the Sharjah International Airport had been coordinating with DNR to facilitate the smooth passage of travellers at the airport.

Dr Sahoua added that DNR officials had to opt for alternative arrangements to check passengers' status, which eventually led to the delay.


Eid to be celebrated on Dec 30

ABU DHABI — Dec. 20:The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has announced that Arafat Day this year will be on Friday, December 29, and Eid Al Adha on Saturday, December 30. This year,120,000 pilgrims, including nationals and expatriates from the country, have gone to perform the Haj.

According to a statement issued by SJC, the crescent of the lunar month of Zul Hijjah was sighted on Wednesday evening.

The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi has been coordinating efforts to provide both the national and expatriate pilgrims with all the facilities and comfort, a source at the embassy said.

Haj visas
The embassy did not charge any fees for issuing the Haj visas.

The source added that the embassy had increased the number of staff as well as the working hours last month to facilitate the issuing of visas for pilgrims.

Meanwhile, the Under-Secretary of the Foreign Ministry for Consular Affairs, Ibrahim bin Omar Al Khurashi, said that the Saudi consulates abroad had issued 1,200,000 Haj visas in a record time.


Workers’ cities to end housing woes

ABU DHABI — Dec. 22:Housing problems for workers in the country, accentuated by the galloping rents in recent years, may well become a thing of the past, if a new plan sees the light of the day. The UAE seeks to build 25 “workers’ cities" to find a permanent solution to the housing woes of workers. “These cities will fill the gap between demand and supply in the housing market," said Khalfan Al Kaabi, Head of Construction Committee and member of the Board of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.

Reasonable rents

"Five such cities will be built initially, three in Abu Dhabi and two in Dubai. Each city will be built at a cost of Dh1.5 billion,” he added. The rents in these cities will be very reasonable — between Dh150 and 900 — and a worker can either pay it on his own or let the company do the same.

Families barred

However, there is a catch. "The workers’ cities, mostly, will not be meant for families. Of the housing clusters, 60 per cent will house workers, 20 per cent will be meant for technicians and 20 per cent for supervisors. The cities will include all such facilities like restaurants, gardens, hospitals, cafeterias, supermarkets, police stations and maintenance units," Al Kaabi explained.

The details of the 25 cities will be announced later, he said. It is noteworthy that the Industry City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD) is already setting up 'Iskan Gamaai', a workers’ city, to provide group accommodation to workers.

36,000 units

ICAD plans to soon provide 36,000 housing units in Mussafah area for different classes of workers, including labourers, technicians and supervisors.

"We know the importance of human resources for sustainable development of the country. So we seek to provide clean accommodation, with all facilities, to labourers in the UAE," said Al Kaabi. These cities, to be built in the near future, are expected to check the hike in rents in the country, which will undoubtedly affect the economy of the country in the long run, he said.



Top Stories

Leave a Comment

Title: News headlines

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.