The United Arab Emirates has waived the degree requirement for Kenyans seeking entry into Dubai.
Foreign minister Moses Wetangula said Wednesday the Arab country, which attracts many Kenyan businesspeople, had lifted the demand on Kenyans applying for a visa after holding talks with a delegation from the government led by Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula and his Labour counterpart John Munyes.
It emerged that at the heart of the diplomatic rift between the two countries was the sudden influx of non-Kenyans travelling to Dubai from Mogadishu using forged Kenyan passports.
Addressing the press Wednesday, Mr Wetangula disclosed that UAE authorities had expressed concern at the number of non-Kenyans arriving in the oil-rich emirate from Mogadishu using forged Kenyan passports.
“Besides the issue of the deportation of their nationals, UAE raised concern about many people who arrive in Dubai, having flown in directly from Mogadishu and other countries other than Kenya but holding Kenyan passports that are obviously forged,” said the minister, who was flanked by the head of political affairs at the ministry, Mr P Wamoto.
Mr Wetangula flew to Dubai last month after the UAE imposed new and stringent requirements for Kenyans seeking to travel to the oil-rich emirate.
The row stemmed from the overzealous actions of officers from the anti-terrorism police unit based in Mombasa over the Easter weekend.
The security officers are said to have arrested four people they claimed were terror suspects and locked them up at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
Grilled for hours
The four, who had already spent a week in the country had flown to the coastal city that fateful weekend when they were arrested by the detectives, grilled for hours before being flown back to Nairobi.
A decision was then made to deport them to Dubai on grounds that they posed a serious threat to the country’s security.
There are over 37,000 Kenyans living and working in Dubai, mainly in the hospitality and construction industries whose jobs were at stake following the imposition of the new requirements.
The Kenyan delegation, which also included Kisauni MP Ali Hassan Joho, held talks with representatives of the Kenyan labour force in Dubai with a view to seeking ways of protecting their jobs in the wake of the new requirements.
“The fear was that majority would lose their jobs if the new requirements were applied to them at the time of renewing their work permits so what we did is that we ring-fenced them against the new regulations,” the minister said.