Widows and divorced women of all nationalities residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will soon be able apply for a one-year visa extension, the government announced on Tuesday.
The sponsor-free residence permit will also be given to their children from the date of the divorce or date of their spouse's death, Khaleej Times reported.
“The decision grants widows and divorced women and their children a one-year residence without the need for a sponsor. It aims to give women the opportunity to adjust their social and economic status,” the cabinet said.
The verdict acknowledges the conditions and situation faced by the divorcees and the widows and somewhat eases their stay in the country after the demise of their spouse.
“It also aims to maintain family stability and social cohesion, and affirms the UAE’s position as a welcoming country to all nationalities in line with its history and values of extending a helping hand,” the cabinet said.
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At the moment, women who have been sponsored by their husbands are required to leave the country in the situation of a divorce. However, if there has been a death then they only permitted to live till their visa validity.
Legal experts and Social workers are praising the move saying it would be a breath of relief to scores of women across the country. However, the resolution will be practiced in the fourth quarter of the current year.
“I have dealt with such cases and this cabinet decision will act as a balm to those women in distress. This will be a great relief for widowed or divorced women, who find themselves in a helpless situation. It will give them enough time to adjust and decide their future and that of their children,” Abu Dhabi-based social worker M M Nasar Kanhangad said.
Ashish Mehta, founder and managing partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates, called the decision an 'extremely important one for common expats in the UAE'.
“It will address concerns of women who may find themselves in a state of shock in the event of a sudden death or divorce. It gives them the confidence to consider their options and take a well-informed decision.
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“The decision offers hope to these women, as their children will be able to continue their education in the country.
“This announcement shows the UAE’s big heart and is testament to the fact that the government’s decisions are based on humanitarian grounds.”
The verdict is one of the many attempts by the government to foster the needs of the country's foreign residents and visitors.
Besides acknowledging struggles of widows and divorcees and accommodate their stay, the decision also aims at giving support and social cohesion to the devastated families and maintains the UAE’s image as a country that always gives adherence and helps in dire need.
This article originally appeared on Khaleej Times.
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