UAE Repatriation Post-Covid

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July 29, 2020

As we are all well aware, Coronavirus has become a global pandemic sweeping through every country including the Emirates that make up the UAE.

Saudi Arabia has been impacted the hardest, recording the highest number of infections and deaths in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

The United Arab Emirates chose to close all of its borders and prevent people from coming in and out of the country bar repatriation fights. This has become a regular protocol across the world, however, the UAE has truly seen the repercussions of the coronavirus on its economy.

Dubai in particular relies heavily on tourists holidaying and visiting the country. As well as this, many people annually move there, choosing to live in the Emirates. 

The pull of the tax-free life in addition to the nice weather, multicultural backgrounds and amazing attractions, means that many people feel that the UAE has more opportunities than their home countries. 

With the coronavirus still active, relocating is going to look completely different. 

In this blog post, we will cover: 

  • How Coronavirus has impacted travel
  • Repatriation during the pandemic
  • The current situation
  • Relocation post-Coronavirus

How has Coronavirus affected travel?

An industry that has truly been impacted by the spread of the coronavirus is tourism. 

When the pandemic halted all flights going in and out of countries, the travel industry ground to a halt without the lifeblood that air travel provides. 

Whilst the summer and spring months are usually the most popular months to go on holiday, visit family members in different countries or travel for business purposes, this year, airports have been empty with all non-essential flights completely cancelled. 

Repatriation during the Coronavirus

The whole of the United Arab Emirates has a population of around 9.6 million people. Expats make up around 7.8 million of this, making it one of the largest repatriation locations.

As so many people relocate their lives to the Emirates every year, people are continuously flying in and out of the country. 

With the rapid spread coronavirus, all this came to a standstill. 

The UAE government made it their priority to help travellers, who had been holidaying in the Emirates. As soon as lockdown was announced, many were allowed to fly home to be with their families and loved ones. 

It has been estimated that over 1.3 million people left the Emirates and flew back to the UK in the height of the outbreak.

Like many countries dealing with pandemic, the UAE closed its borders. This meant a complete bar on entry to anyone trying to enter or leave the country. From March 17th 2020, it suspended all flights to and from Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Later that month, on March 23rd, Dubai also announced that it would be suspending all passenger flights, which was followed by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad announcing it would not be allowing any flights to carry non-essential passengers, except for returning UAE nationals and diplomats of Abu Dhabi. 

During this time, no expats were coming into the country. Whilst tourism for the Emirates completely stood still, so did the plans of those moving to the UAE.

Relocation post-Coronavirus

In light of Covid-19, a few new protocols will be put into place if you are thinking about moving or even just visiting any of the Emirates.

For example, parties arriving into any of the countries will be required to have evidence of recently testing negative for the Coronavirus. If you have not been tested, you can opt to have a test completed in one of the airports. 

It also advised that you have health insurance for yourself and whoever you are travelling with. 

After the pandemic, Emirates such as Abu Dhabi has been looking at investing money into new start up companies and making returning to the UAE easier. 

They are claiming that they will now be aiming to attract skilled expat professionals by lowering the overall cost of living and reaching out to the entrepreneurs looking to relocate. 

If you are looking to repatriate from or relocate to the United Arab Emirates and need more information, one of our skilled advisors can help. Get in contact with us now to find out how we can make your journey easier.