All foreign nationals in the UAE on visit visa must leave the UAE for 30-days if they want to change to work/residency visa.
This recent change of immigration laws does not hamper the influx of jobseekers from all over the world to take the risks of looking for new employments. Especially Filipinos who are desperate to get away from worsening situation at home.
Some of these jobseekers are unfortunate to be stranded when their employers either delay the applications or abandon them altogether. The number is growing into thousands.
The most popular destinastion is Kish Island in Iran. Kish is a free port whereby no visa is required and the sleepy town is booming with this business of 'visa runners'.
Kish, Iran: There is a donation box placed on a counter at the Rodaki Restaurant with a handwritten sign on it in Tagalog which says, "Help those without visa." The box has only a few dirhams in it.
Nearby on a wall are notes left behind by those who were helped in their desperation.
"Fifty dirhams. Thank you for your help. Honario David," says one note. Another just lists a mobile phone number and a plea, "I need help," it reads.
Mohsin Iraj, a harried front-desk staffer at Farabi Hotel 1, picks up a bundle of passports, most of them belonging to Filipinos and a couple of green-coloured ones of Bangladeshis, and starts counting them. "Thirteen", he says finally. "These people do not have any money, they cannot pay for their room. What can we do?" he asks.
At an internet cafein the hotel sits a young Filipina chatting with someone, and crying. She said the agency told her that her visa application was rejected in Dubai. She has been on the island for 33 days.