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Issued by the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs-Dubai

IP creation plays key role in Knowledge Economy

Volume 1 Issue 2 June 2014

The role of IT at the borders Connectedness among economies enhances global flows

Let’s face the future with risks

 Major General Mohammed Al Marri

Raeyaa programme attracts 71 Emirati students

Your access to Dubai Gov. eServices




For more information, ASK Dubai 7000 40000, or email

Welcome Message

Public Services in the Digital Era W hy and how some governments improve services

offered to the public in a variety of domains more effectively than others? The answer is simple: they are more committed to good governance practices and want to remain competitive and smart to serve the best interest of the nation and its people. The fast pace of technology has contributed towards creating strong expectations among the people about getting government services seamless and hassle free. One needs a Smart government which is compatible with the changing times.The Digital Era requires the government and its various regulatory and administrative bodies to think and act smart. Success in Digital Era is all about thinking ahead of times and ahead of others. The UAE has been in the forefront of tapping digital technology and smart governance practices right from the start of the 21st century. From starting the world’s first internet city as a free zone business entity to launching online public services one after another, the UAE is now on the cusp of having Smart Government of the highest level. The Smart government is not just confined to Dubai alone but the whole country has embraced the digital technologies for the introduction of electronic public service delivery systems that have improved the quality of life, accountability, transparency and responsiveness. GDRFA-Dubai has remained in the forefront of Smart government initiative under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Over the past five years, we successfully increased smart services from 65 per cent in 2007 to 96 per cent as of today. We now offer 267 electronic services to the

public and are confident of becoming totally ‘smart’ organization by end-2015. Our Digital Era successes are many and the world is not just recognizing them but also getting inspired. The UAE moved up in the latest global rankings of information and communication technology competitiveness (ICT) done by the World Economic Forum (WEF)The UAE is the world’s 24th most “networked ready” nation, according to a latest report by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD). It commended that the UAE has ‘the most efficient government’, the strongest decisionmaking and the lightest bureaucracy in the world. One project that will go a long way in the world’s first smart apps store launched by the UAE government. I conclude by quoting His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s remarks. “Let us never forget: competitiveness is a race with no finish line. We must never stop improving: even as Number One, we have a duty to do better tomorrow, and every day. Because this is also a race with the richest of prizes: a government that delivers happiness and prosperity to all of the people of the UAE.”

Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 1

GDRFA Message


in History


October 1971 Pursuant to an order promulgated by the then Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, two departments were established: Central Immigration Department and Ports and Borders Department


October 1972 The two departments were merged with the UAE’s Ministry of Interior and Federal Law No. 17 concerning the naturalization and passports was promulgated.


1973 Federal Law No. (6) concerning Immigration and Residency was promulgated as the first law regulating the entry and residency of expatriates in United Arab Emirates.


1977 The two departments were merged and the new Department shifted to a building in the ministries complex


1982 The Administration shifted to the present building during the tenure of Colonel Mohammad Al-Ghaith


2003 The building was completely refurbished during the tenure of Brigadier General Saeed Bin Belaila


1999 Naturalization and Residency Administration, Dubai, established a branch at Hatta Fort


1995 Jebel Ali Port branch was inaugurated

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Our Vision The UAE to become one the safest and most secure countries in the world.

Our Mission To work efficiently and effectively to enhance the quality of life for UAE society through security, transit, rehabilitation, residency services and secure the safety of lives and property.

Our Values t t t t t t t

Justice Work with team spirit Excellence Good cooperation Integrity Loyalty Social responsibility

Strategic objectives t Strengthening of security and safety t Ensure readiness and preparedness in disasters and crises t Enhancing public confidence in the effectiveness of the provided services t The optimal use of security information t Secure the provision of all administrative services in accordance with standards of quality, efficiency and transparency

To communicate with GDRFA: Location: Aljaffilya - Bur Dubai PO Box : UAE – Dubai 4333 Email: Toll Free Number: 04 3139999 - 8005111 Working Hours: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM GDRFA-Dubai http:// Dubai Airport Freezone Dubai Public Prosecution Dubai Municipality

Department of Economic Development Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing Land and Property Department


GDRFA News GDRFA-Dubai participates in Careers UAE 2014

Spotlight on Smart services


Monthly newsletter issued by GDRFA-Dubai


UAE News High-tech podcars for Dubai streets

UAE credit bureau bylaws approved


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Major General Mohammed Ahmed Almarri Director General of GDRFA - Dubai

General Supervision

East News

Brig. Obaid Muhair Bin Suroor

Oman to introduce two year ban on job visa change

KSA launches tourism-linked Umrah visa

Honorary President

Deputy Director General of GDRFA - Dubai

General Coordinator

Captain Khalid Al Rahma Editorial Consultant

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Ghassan Suleiman

Creative Manager

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Mohammed Akram

International News US to attract highly-skilled workforce

Study says fewer STEM jobs in the US

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Strategic Technology Partner of GDRFA-Dubai Content, Production, Marketing & Advertising Nadd Al Shiba PR and Event Management Phone: + 9714 2566707

Facial Recognition Technology Let’s face the future with risks

Connectedness among economies enhances global flows

Fax: + 9714 2566704 Website


P 20 Most Europeans support limiting immigration

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|Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 3


GDRFA-Dubai bags Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University Appreciation Award T he

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) has bagged Appreciation Award from Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU). With the theme, Together We Grow, the event specifically recognized the efforts of HBMSU’s strategic partners who have made key contributions to the University’s growth. HBMSU partners are grouped into four main categories. Recipients of the Appreciation Award also included Dubai Land Department, Dubai Government Human Resource Department, Community Development Authority, Dubai Customs,

Dubai Media Inc., Dubai Women Establishment, Knowledge and Human Development Authority,

RTA, Dubai Police, Zayed University, Dubai Smart Government, Ministry of Education and Du. 

Oman delegation visits GDRFA-Dubai A delegation from Royal Oman Po-

lice visited the GDRFA-Dubai offices within the framework of enhancing mutual cooperation and benefits from best practices among the GCC countries in the immigration, border control and residency affairs.

The visit has been organized by the European Business Center for Training & Development in cooperation with the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Civil Services. The delegation, headed by Captain Salem bin Ali, toured various GDRFA-Dubai facilities and stud-

ied the projects, procedures and processes utilized in the delivery of services offered to the customers by the GDRFA-Dubai. The Omani officials showed special interest in Mobile Visa Service, customer care center and other self-service facilities that GDRFADubai offers to its customers. They also reviewed the electronic services offered by the Directorate along with the successful operation of Smart Gate at Dubai airports. Captain Salem thanked the GDRFA-Dubai under Major General Mohammed Al Marri for making the visit of the Omani delegation successful. 

4 |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ |


Colonel Khalaf Ahmad is Distinguished Government Employee T he

professionalism and dedication of his superiors towards work at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFADubai) remains the inspiration to succeed for Colonel Khalaf Ahmad Al Ghaith, Assistant to the Director General for Follow-up on illegal residents and visitors, who won the Dubai government’s coveted Distinguished Government Employee award in the 17th edition of the Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP). Father of five children, he said team work plays a crucial role in the journey of success in an organization. He was honoured by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at a ceremony in April. A graduate of the fourth batch of Dubai Police Academy, Khalaf started his career at Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department before joining the GDRFA-Dubai in 2007.

RFA-Dubai and his deputy Brigadier Obaid bin Surour. “I learned from them how to be patient and to keep my eyes on the future,” said Khalaf. He is credit for several initiatives like ‘Aman Car’ which reduced time and efforts for the staff in the follow-up of illegal residents by checking their status in maximum 10 minutes, while the prior process required the investigation itself about six hours. Colonel Khalaf played a key role in the initiatives designed to followup on illegal residents and foreigners that helped the GDRFA-Dubai save about 25 per cent of their 2012 budget for this purpose. One of his initiatives also has helped cut down the use of ink and paper consumption, which saved AED500000. The colonel said he learned tremendously in workplace from Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of GDR-

Aman car was introduced in 2011 which allowed on the spot checking on foreign workers to find out if they are illegal or not, in order to amend their situation. The previous procedures to follow up on illegals included site visits by inspectors to find out if they have official papers or not and if needed taking the suspect illegals to the department for investigation which would take about seven hours or more. 

|Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 5


Dubai airports to get more Smart gates D ubai

International Airport Terminal 1 and 2, and the Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central (DWC) will have Smart gates installed by the year-end, a GDRFA-Dubai official told Emirates 24|7. Lieutenant Abdul Jabbar Ahmed, Head of Smart Solutions Department at General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai, said: “We are working on installing Smart gates at Terminal 1 and 2 and Al Maktoum International Airport before end of the year.

e-Gate cards. It uses facial and eye-recognition technology to identify and verify the user. Once the checks are made, the gate opens automatically for travelers to pass through to baggage reclaim areas. Over 20 locations have been selected for registration for Smart gate, which include Terminal 3’s departure halls, Terminals 1 and 3 arrival halls, dnata office at Sheikh Zayed Road and headquarters of Emirates Airlines and GDRFA-Dubai and immigration Arrival counters at Terminal 3. 

Currently, Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport has 28 smart gates. Terminal 1 will have 16 Smart gates, while terminal 2 will have four. We will install four Smart gates at the Al Maktoum International Airport for now, he said. The Smart gate is an automated, secure and convenient self-service alternative to the conventional border control process through immigration officers. The Emirati-built Smart gate identifies users through their passports, ID cards or

Get your residency queries answered in English T he General Directorate of Residency

and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFADubai) has launched a new service to answer all immigration queries of residents on Instagram in English. “Residents will have to send a ‘direct message’ in English to GDRFA on Instagram account: gdrfadubai. The queries will be answered in 24 hours,” Mohammed Sultan Thani,

6 |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ |

Consultant, Organisation Excellence, GDRFA, Dubai, told Emirates 24|7.

On Instagram, we will respond to direct messages in English, Al Thani said.

He added: “If you will make comments on the posts, you may not get answers, but if you send a ‘direct message’, we will answer all your queries.” The directorate has been quite active on social media scene and has been answering residents’ queries, primarily in Arabic.

GDRFA already has a toll free AMER service for public complaints, suggestions and Inquiries. The 24-hour service offers several communication options, such as toll-free number (voice), fax, e-mail and e-chat. For AMER chat, the timings are from 10 am to 5 pm from Sunday to Thursday.


Spotlight on Smart services T he General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs

(GDRFA-Dubai) participated in the second edition of Dubai Government’s Achievements Exhibition held in Dubai under the title Local government- international achievements.

GDRFA-Dubai’s electronic visa service via mobile phone was under spotlight among the visitors to the show. The exhibition was organized by the Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP). It also introduced Smart gates being implemented at Dubai airports in a phased manner to facilitate travelers use their passports and complete their passport control procedures in 20 seconds. There will be more or less no need for employees’ presence at the Passport Control counters when the project is fully completed. The GDRFA’s services portfolio also included services used via mobile phones such as the renewal of entry work permits, information, suggestions and inquiries. 

Brainstorming for improving GDRFA services

A brainstorming meeting was organ-

ized by the Sea Ports Affairs Sector in cooperation with the Department of Documentation Checking and Services Sector which was attended by GDRFA-Dubai officials, including Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the GDRFA-Dubai, and his deputy, Brigadier Obaid Mohair Bin Surour. The goal of the meeting was to discuss different issues in order to overcome obstacles, improve services provided by the GDRFA, coordination with various government departments, strengthen cooperation between government departments in Dubai, generate creative ideas and motivating and training staff to be more innovative and creative and teamwork approach.

The meeting was chaired by Colonel Hussein Ibrahim Ahmed, GDRFA-Dubai’s Director of Seaport Affairs and Head of the team. It was attended by members and heads of GDRFA-Dubai departments and strategic partners such as Dubai Police, Dubai Customs, DP World, Dubai Maritime City, Department

of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and the State Security officials. Colonel Ahmed underscored the importance of creativity and innovation and the role they play in building a bright future and also in offering best services to the public.  |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 7


GDRFA-Dubai participates in Careers UAE 2014 T he General Directorate of Residen-

cy and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) has been flooded with thousands of job applications at the 2014 edition of Careers UAE, a job fair organized and hosted by the Dubai World Trade Center. GDRFA-Dubai introduced an initiative titled, You Are Capable Of, to attract people with Special Needs to work in different sections at the airports, including Passport Control Section. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA-Dubai, said the Directorate will provide 300 jobs in different disciplines at Dubai airports with a starting salary package of AED 16,000 for those with high school certificates. He said the job applicants were interviewed during the fair and the selected candidates were informed immediately about their selection. The selected candidates will go undergo six months training before being drafted for work at the Directorate. He said they followed specific recommendations to hire People with Special Needs. There has been cooperation between the Directorate and others departments in this regard and job seekers with Special Needs can apply directly to these departments. The GDRFA-Dubai, he said, was keenly pursuing the Smart Govern-

8 |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ |

ment initiative of Dubai government and offered smart services that allowed job seekers to enter their personal data on their Smartphones or iPad which were available at the careers fair. The highest priority on its recruitment list is for Passport Officers as there are great requirements for this job taking into account the recent developments and the increasing number of passengers using the Dubai International and Al Maktoum International airports. He said that it was important to support Emiratisation programme in the hugely diversied economy. He said the GDRFA-Dubai has always aimed towards giving more and more opportunities to UAE nationals under the Emiratisation which stands at 95 per cent at GDRFA.

Major Issa Shaheen, Director of Human Resources Management, GDRFA-Dubai, said that the GDRFADubai considers human resources as one of its key assets and its important role in raising the creativity, efficiency and development of the organization. Sheikha Al Shafore, Head of Employment, GDRFA, said the participation in the Careers Fair was to give opportunities to all Emiratis to find jobs and to be part of the society and its overall growth. According to Captain Osman Ahmed Marzouki, Head of Training Management said the GDRFA-Dubai will put all its efforts towards supporting and development of its employees by conducting training programmes. 



Mohammed bin Rashid Era W ith the second issue of Manafez Dubai,

we have gone the extra mile to enhance our public communication and keep you informed about the efforts towards improving the quality of our public services provided in accordance with the instructions of our visionary leadership that aims to make the people of UAE the happiest on the earth. I am sure that you are well aware about the huge challenges faced by GDRFADubai team every moment to make the goals a reality. The noble initiatives launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is designed for all of us for a better future. Working in an environment laden with huge amount of challenges on a daily basis requires all of us to put long working hours. It enables us come closer to our target to become the smart organization before the 2015 deadline. We live in a fast changing world with full of challenges and developments that are bringing about huge transformation to our world. The fast changes to our national economy and God-blessed security in our beloved nation have made the UAE a lighthouse for millions of investors, tourists and dreamers of a better future from all over the world. Statistics suggests that about 70 million passengers will travel through the

Dubai International Airport during the current year while Dubai hotels will host more than 12 million guests during the same period. The challenges make the GDRFA-Dubai management team, under the leadership of Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, to explore innovate initiatives and implement aspirational plans to handle the anticipated massive growth of visitors coming to the UAE and to provide them with the best services. Despite all these achievements, we are concerned about the future challenges. We are in Mohammed bin Rashid era. That’s why our expectations have no limits. We are always thinking about current time and what next. What is the next step that Mohammed bin Rashid wants us to climb in the journey of success and excellence? We are proud to be part of the Mohammed bin Rashid era.

Obaid Moheir bin Suroor |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 9

Cover Story

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri

Raeyaa programme attracts 71 students A unique programme designed to

create a strong pool of qualified and skilled cadre of Emiratis in specialized domains at the GDRFADubai has attracted 71 secondary school students over the past four years. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFADubai said the GDRFA Dubaisponsored Raeyaa initiative has been helping in creating a pool of excellent cadre of young and talented UAE nationals to take up various responsibilities at the GDRFA-Dubai.

Under the scheme, selected students pursue their university studies in specializations needed by the GDRFA-Dubai. The programme, he says, helps in creating a new generation of young skilled leaders who can shoulder responsibilities at the GDRFA-Dubai and thereby contribute to improving the quality of services provided to the customers in addition to giving a momentum to the Emiratisation 10 |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ |

programme in the country and offering attractive jobs for the UAE nationals. Maj. Gen. Al Marri remarked that the success of any organization depends on its ability to employ and retain the right talent and also keeping their recruitment and training programme in sync with the actual needs. The selected students on completion of their studies are employed to

work as officers at the GDRFA-Dubai. The selected students are provided AED6000 a month each during the course of their studies and the amount is higher in the case of meritorious candidates. Students are selected based on several criteria like Dubai Government’s strategic goals, GDRFA policies and actual needs of various GDRFA Rectors. He says the programme

Cover Story

enables financial weak students continue higher studies and get attractive jobs with they graduate. He says Students Affairs Section Section in the Department of Human Resources, Training and Development at GDRFA prepares a list of the required specializations at the GDRFA-Dubai after consulting different sectors and pursuing an open registration system for the students interested in studying in specialized fields. The programme has been recently improvised to attract elite students and it helps take the financial burden of studies off their shoulders while ensuring a distinguished job in GDRFA-Dubai. Officials tasked with the programme

management conducts field interviews with the candidates to test their abilities to study in the specialized fields. They also visit students after they join the universities to prepare periodical reports about their academic progress taking into account the comments of faculty members. The number of beneficiaries for the programme in 2011 was 26, followed by 23 in 2012, 18 in 2013 and four in the the first quarter of 2014. GDRFA-Dubai is focusing on ICT, Electronic Engineering and Statistics among other as it enhances its portfolio of electronic services to customers and aiming to become a fully Smart department in line with the Dubai Government’s Smart Government

programme before the deadline set for the initiative. The programme covers a number of universities in and outside the UAE, including the Zayed University, Univesity of Sharjah, Higher Colleges of Technology and UAE University. GDRFA-Dubai offers financial benefits to students with the highest academic performance. After the completion of study, they undergo a training course of six to nine month duration at the Dubai Police Academy to get themselves familiar with the security sciences and are later deployed at the GDRFADubai to gain work experience before joining the Directorate. Response and interaction of students for the programme has remained strong. 

|Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 11

UAE News

More British expats picking UAE to start new lives T he UK expats are increasingly choos-

ing the UAE as their destination of choice when deciding on a new life overseas, according to a new report published by NatWest International Personal Banking, a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. While Australia and Canada were ranked first and second in the banks’ Quality of Life Index, the UAE was the highest climber, rising three places to third compared to the previous year. In five years, the UAE has leapt from 10th place in the index, boosted by the emergence of Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the global stage. NatWest said career opportunities are the key driver for expats heading to UAE, with 75 percent citing it as their rea-

son for moving to the country. However, only eight percent of respondents said they believe they will stay in UAE forever with the majority (92 percent) considering themselves as on ‘temporary’ assignment. The top 10 destinations for UK expats, according to the index, were

Australia, Canada, the UAE, South Africa, New Zealand, the US, Singapore, France, Spain, Portugal, China and Hong Kong. The study is based on expats’ assessment of lifestyle indicators, such as availability of consumer goods, entertainment, food, law enforcement, public transports, sanitation and housing. 

UAE credit bureau bylaws approved T he UAE government has approved

the bylaws for the creation of a nationwide credit bureau that would help create a more robust credit environment in the Arab world’s second biggest economy by allowing lenders to better establish the credit standing of borrowers. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has issued Cabinet Resolution No. 16 of 2014 that paves the way for the official launch of the Al Etihad Credit Bureau, created by virtue of Federal Law No. 6 of 2010 which defined ways for requesting, gath-

12 |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ |

ering, preservation, analysis, categorization, use, circulation and protection of credit information and related information. Marwan Lutfi, CEO of Al Etihad Credit Bureau, says the facility has collected 22 to 24 months of data from around 70 credit data providers like financial institutions, telecommunication companies and various government bodies in the UAE. Once the credit bureau is launched, everyone with a UAE ID card and who is part of the active credit population -- estimated at almost half the UAE inhabitants of some 10 million people -- will be part of this credit database. 

UAE is world’s most charitable country


he UAE is the most generous country on earth when it comes to giving foreign aid – handing over $5 billion to needy nations last year. Financial assistance given out by the UAE soared by 375.5 per cent in 2013, largely because of the UAE’s exceptional support to Egypt, according to figures released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Last year, the UAE gave 1.25 per cent of its GNI in aid. The UAE’s aid contributions took it from 19th place in the 2012 donor list to first in the world. 

UAE News

High-tech podcars for Dubai streets

D ubai is set to have a new mode of

public transport — high-tech podcars — in the next couple of years. The Zabeel area has been identified for the launch of the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, which is currently operational only at London’s Heathrow Airport and in West Virginia in the US. In 2011 a similar system was also piloted at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. PRT is a personalized guided, single-car transit system that carries small groups of people, connecting with other larger network of transport modes. The system allows nonstop, point-to-point travel combining the comfort and privacy of a private car and the convenience of a rapid train. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) says Dubai will be serving 25 million

visitors for the world’s largest business exhibition, Expo 2020, with 150,000 people expected to visit the Expo site daily on weekdays and 300,000 per day during weekends.

Dubai Metro was launched in September 2009 and today it has two lines serving millions of residents and visitors annually. In November, Dubai will launch a tram network in Al Sufouh. 

Now flight check-in from Dubai airport taxi P assengers

heading to the Dubai International and Al Maktoum International in Dubai World Central (DWC) will not have to worry about checking in on time for their flights. They can now check in and browse for travel informa-

tion directly from their taxis on the way to the airport. The Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) has introduced WI-FI service and fitted 200 LCD screens in 100 taxis so that customers can log on to several websites, including Emir-

ates Airline and Dubai Airports. The project started in December last year and the DTC awarded a three-year contract to Techno Line Company for introducing smart technology and LCD smart screens in taxis. Customers can also access the internet service on their own devices - iPhones, Windows, smart phones and Android - to see different DTC and RTA advertisements, marketing and promotional offers made by various interested public and private institutions. They can also file complaints, submit suggestions, thank cabbies and avail special offers through these interactive screens.  |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 13

Middle East News

Oman to introduce two year ban on job visa change exempted from the ban. Sultanate of Oman has decided to limit the proportion of expatriates working in the private sector from 39 per cent to 33 per cent and has outlined steps to increase the percentage of Omani national workforce in the private sector and to rationalize the recruitment of expatriates.

B eginning

July 1, a two-year ban on switching jobs by expatriates will come into effect in Sultanate of Oman. The decision comes close on the heels of the Ministry of Manpower extending by anoth-

er six months a six-month ban on employing expatriate construction workers and housekeeping staff – mostly Asians- in the private sector beginning May 4.The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are

National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) data reveals that the expatriate population stands at 1.76 million by the end of February 2014. This constitutes 44.2 per cent of the country’s total population of about four million, of which 2.2 million or 55.8 per cent are Omani nationals. 

Kuwait panel against fiveyear expat residency cap

K uwait Parliament’s Legal and Legis-

lative Committee has rejected a draft bill to limit the residency of expatriates to five years saying that it is unconstitutional and impractical. The draft bill was submitted in January by a Parliament member on controlling the number of expatriates in the country. According to the bill, expatriates with low educational degrees should be granted non-renewable visa valid for five years. The bill also stipulated that the rule is linked with the number of people in every expatriate community, which must not exceed 10 percent of the Kuwaiti population. The GCC nationals, Europeans and Americans were exempted from this rule under the draft bill. 

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Morocco’s high wall to stop illegal immigration into Europe

M orocco is to install a five-yard high

wall topped with razor wire along the border of Spain’s north African enclave Melilla in a an effort to stop the wave of immigrants crossing into Europe. The work has already begun on the new barriers. There are also plans to include a trench containing razor wire at the foot of the wall.

The Spanish government has agreed to spend a further 2.1 million euros to boost security at the borders of Ceuta and Melilla after the surge of illegal crossings. Spain has already installed a triple layer fence topped with razor wire at the borders but each week scores of wounded migrants arrive at immigration centres after scaling the fences. 

Middle East News

KSA launches tourism-linked Umrah visa A t a panel discussion during the Ara-

bian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, hospitality industry experts have backed Saudi Arabia’s implementation of the ‘Extended Umrah Tourism Programme’ to give visitors from 65 countries the chance to stay up to a month in the Kingdom following Umrah. This follows the suspension of its limited tourist visa programme in March. Officials said Saudi Arabia issued approximately 1.1 million tourist visas from a total of 10.2 million, representing 11 per cent of the total market. Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) Chairman, Prince Sultan bin Salman, comment-

ed: “SCTA has just started the implementation of programme which allows Umrah pilgrims to join a month-long tour programme in coordination with the Ministries of Haj, Interior and Foreign Affairs.” 

Qatar plans to replace Kafala system Q atar

has announced its intention to enact wide-ranging labour market reforms, to strengthen existing labour laws and improve the living and working conditions of all workers in Qatar, according to news posted on the Ministry of Interior’s website. A comprehensive set of measures will be enshrined in Qatari law to allow for the implementation of new reform mechanisms. These measures are in line with commitment to social development as outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatar will work closely with internal and external stakeholders in the coming months to strengthen protections for both the employers and employees to ensure sustainable reform. The current Kafala system will be re-

placed with a system based on employment contracts. The current exit permit system, which requires the employer’s consent for an employee to leave the country, will now be replaced with an automated system through the Ministry of Interior. The Metrash2 e-government system will automatically grant an exit permit to an employee after a 72-hour grace period prior to departure. In addition, with the new law the employer will no longer be financially liable for their employee. Any financial obligations incurred by the employee while in Qatar will be governed by the country’s Civil and Commercial law. No Objection Certificates, which currently regulate the transfer of

employees to different employers, will be replaced with an employment contract system. If the employment contract is for a fixed term, the employee may transfer to another employer at the end of that term. If the employment contract is on an indefinite duration, the employee may transfer to another employer after five years from the date of the contract. A model employment contract will be distributed which includes the new terms and conditions contained in the laws and employers can add other conditions to the model contract as long as they are consistent with the new law. All existing contracts will remain valid until employers bring them in line with the new model contract within a one year grace period from the time the new law goes into effect.  |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 15

International News

US to attract highly-skilled workforce T he US Department of Homeland

Security (DHS) has published two proposed rules, including a rule to extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers, and a proposal to enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the country. US businesses use the H-1B programme to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as science, engineering or computer programming. Under existing regulations, DHS does not extend employment authorization to dependents (also known as H-4

nonimmigrants) of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. The change proposed by DHS, would allow H-4 dependent spouses of certain H-1B nonimmigrant workers to request

Russia proposes taking foreigners’ DNA samples T he

Federal Migration Service has proposed taking DNA samples from foreign workers coming to Russia. The agency had received more than three million sets of fingerprints from foreign workers in 2013 and 700,000 since the beginning of this year. Mandatory fingerprints for immigrant workers were introduced in January 2013, and the migration service announced plans to expand the programme to workers’ family members aged 12 or older. Russian citizens’ passports for foreign travel with fingerprint data

16 |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ |

were also tested by the FMS in major cities during 2013 and will be issued on a mass scale for those looking to cross their countries’ borders. Last year, about 17.7 million foreigners visited Russia. 

employment authorization, as long as the H-1B worker has already started the process of seeking lawful permanent residence through employment. 

Global citizenship catching fancy of Asian super-rich

G lobal citizenship is becoming popu-

lar among the world’s ultra-wealthy and an increasing number of superrich from China and India are likely to trend this path in the coming years, says a Wealth-X report. China and India both already have some of the largest populations based abroad. Moreover, coupled with current residents of China and India, the two countries have a total UHNW (Ultra high net worth) population of 26,925, accounting for one in every seven UHNW individuals in the world. Measured solely in investment terms, the majority of investor immigration programmes are very attractive to UHNW individuals, costing as little as 0.5 per cent of their liquid assets, or 0.1 per cent of their net worth, and providing a host of positive benefits.

International News

Study says fewer STEM jobs in the US

A new study has revealed that the US

has well more than twice as many workers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees as there are STEM jobs. It said there have been only modest levels of wage growth for such workers for more than a decade. Both employment and wage data indicate that such workers are not in short supply. In 2012, there were

more than twice as many people with STEM degrees (immigrants and native-born) as there were STEM jobs — 5.3 million STEM jobs vs. 12.1 million people with STEM degrees. Only one-third of natives who have a STEM degree and have a job work in a STEM occupation. There are 1.5 million native-born Americans with engineering degrees not working as

Canada to launch new residency-linked investor scheme C

anada will announce details of an immigration investor venture capital pilot scheme in ‘a couple more months’. The visa will allow foreign nationals to gain Canadian permanent residence visas if they start-up businesses in Canada. Applicants would need to invest ‘more than twice the amount’ that was required under the previous Immigrant Investor Program (IIP). The investment would need to be

made for a longer period than under the IIP. The minimum investment will be higher than under the IIP. Under the IIP, applicants were required to invest CAN$800,000. Under the new scheme, the amount would be ‘more than twice’ that amount. The sum invested will have to be invested for longer than under the IIP. IIP applicants had to ‘invest’ their money for a five year period. 

engineers, as well as half a million with technology degrees, 400,000 with math degrees, and 2.6 million with science degrees working outside their field. Of the 700,000 immigrant STEM workers allowed into the country between 2007 and 2012, only one-third got a STEM job, about one-third got a nonSTEM job, and about one-third are not working. 

New law requires knowledge of Russian for residency

R ussian President Vladimir Putin has

signed into law a bill that requires foreigners to prove their ability to speak Russian while also giving his seal of approval to a separate bill that will make it easier to grant citizenship to Russian-speakers in former Soviet states. The new immigration rules for foreign citizens make it compulsory for anyone applying for a Russian work or residency permit to submit a certificate from an accredited institution, demonstrating their knowledge of the country’s language, history and its basic legal framework.  |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 17

emaratech is part of building the UAE of the future with a sustainable, knowledge-based economy Thani Alzaffin

Director General & Board Member emaratech Under the UAE’s visionary leaders, emaratech has a proven track record of human capital and high level of creativity in software manufacturing with global competitiveness


n the past few years, many people have been forced to enter a new world; a borderless world with the internet and new information and communication technologies. The smart phones, tablets and many other platforms are revolutionary not only in the commercial and social offerings but also in changing consumer behaviors towards ever-evolving technologies. The relationship between technology and societies haven’t been stronger. Technology is becoming is coming an integral part of every conceivable domain and it is slowly dominating our lives. We are becoming technologically literate in terms of using these products; but as long as we don’t know how they work, or how they are made, we will remain consumers of imported technology. Several research studies have indicated that despite the Arab world being blessed with abundant human capital and natural wealth, most countries still lacks adequate innovation and technological infrastructure to apply and create knowledge and best utilize the insurmountable volume of information. On the other hand, there are quite

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Intellectual property creation & business process outsourcing plays key roles in the Knowledge economy interesting and inspiring examples of the impact of knowledge economy on GDPs, productivity and employment growth opportunities. Becoming a technology-savvy society is not about consuming but embracing every opportunity that comes our way for the welfare of the society and for becoming a valuable national repository in the intellectual perspectives. Sound economies are built on the emergence of the knowledge-based societies. The advent of such societies is a lifelong opportunity where growth is driven by knowledge and innovation. Under the visionary leaders of the UAE, we have a proven track record of human capital and high level of creativity in the software manufacturing with global competitiveness. At emaratech, we take pride in our many achievements in software manufacturing on a global level, as the creativity and competitiveness is balanced with what is being offered worldwide. The eVisa system, engineered by emaratech, is widely

emaratech delivers key organizational and business intelligence services to enable governments and institutions operate efficiently and effectively, minimizing bureaucracy, streamlining costs, and increasing revenues through effective business solutions

acclaimed for its speed, accuracy and efficiency with highest levels of security. We are renowned for engineering and providing electronic and smart solutions for the government, border access and control solutions, payment gateway technology, eCommerce, system integration, applications development, business consulting, quality management and managed services. The UAE continues to be the leader in the border access and control. Examples include the electronic gates best known as UAE-Gates engineered by emarat-

ech and the Smart Gates launched last year at Terminal 3 of Dubai airports with our strategic partners. Today, we are in the final stages of the research and development to engineer a new concept for Intelligent Travel by using “IRIS on the move” technology. We believe that IRIS on the move is the future of intelligent travel. We are not alone. Our strategic partnership with the UAE’s Ministry of Interior and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs–Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) has paved the way to shape new innovative concepts to provide seamless and rich travel experiences to the UAE .visitors and residents

In an effort to enable our communities embrace the knowledge and technology innovation, we will soon be launching a programme that nurtures university graduates’ creativity and innovations enabling them bridge their academic knowledge with what is needed in the marketplace. This is a major effort for ensuring sustainable growth and creating more and better jobs. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Enhancing innovation and research portfolios, establishing industries collaboration, engaging and encouraging the involvement of the youth in innovative technology are yet to evolve. The coming generations will have to be kept ready to play a positive role in shaping the world in a correlational relationship and it is our endeavor to enable societies embrace innovation in technology. In this context, emaratech is part of building the UAE of the future with a sustainable, knowledge-based econo-

my while becoming the regional leader in the Intellectual Property creation and the business process outsourcing

in the knowledge-based economy. This is only possible by investing in the human capital.  |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 19

New Technology

Facial Recognition Technology

Let’s face the future with risks U nlike other biometric identifiers such as iris scans and fingerprints,

facial recognition is designed to operate at a distance, without the knowledge or consent of the person being identified. Imagine having a pair of Google glasses at a party, turning over to look at an attractive woman, and because of facial recognition technology be able to get to know her on Facebook and ask her on a date on Tinder. An artificial intelligence system known as DeepFace could make that possible in the near future. DeepFace creates three-dimensional models of the faces and uses Deep Learning- a system that mimics the structure of neurons in the brain. While studies show humans can identify facial differences about 97.53 percent of the time, DeepFace promises to do so at 97.25 percent. The system uses more than 120 million different parameters to analyze large data sets and draw connections. The technology has been advancing since the 1960s. However, facial recognition technology as a biometric security measure has gained

significant traction in recent years driven by growth in security measures around the globe which itself is propelled by rise in incidents of crime and terrorism. The technology is contributing to what will become a $20 billion market by 2020, according to the Secure Identity Biometrics Association (SIBA). The demand for this technology is growing steadily across all industry verticals and is poised to become as ubiquitous as fingerprint technology over long term. Emerging trends and opportunities in the market include refining search engine results on the basis of facial images and photo tagging applications, gathering intelligence on buying and traffic pattern in various retail shops, identification of missing persons.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is reportedly working on a database of millions of photographs and fingerprints called Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometric database which will reportedly hold 52 million face images by 2015. It already contains more than 16 million images. More than four million come from non-criminal contexts, such as driver’s license photos. The technology could be linked to driver’s license databases and other data to be classified by an FBI Universal Control Number.

Further, innovative cloud services based on face recognition technologies

The future of “identification services is rapidly advancing beyond existing

Google Glass

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are expected to gain increased traction in market. A major challenge for this market is limitations in terms of accuracy for face and feature detection, however, increased focus on research and technological advancements are expected to overcome this challenge.


capabilities,” remarked FBI in its Privacy Impact Assessment report adding that the technology should be used as “an investigative aid and not as a means of positive identification.” Facial recognition technology has huge potential for security, says Luke Dormehl, author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems (And Create More). A patent published by Apple in March shows how the Cupertino company has investigated the possibility of using facial recognition as a security measure for unlocking its devices – identifying yourself to your iPhone could one day be as easy as snapping a quick selfie. Much of Google’s interest in facial recognition revolves around the possibilities offered by image search, with the search leviathan hoping to find more intelligent ways to sort through the billions of photos that exist online. Google’s deepest dive into facial recognition is its Google Glass headsets. Thanks to the camera built into each device, the headsets would seem to be tailor-made for recognizing the people around you. That’s exactly what third-party developers thought as well, since almost as soon as the technology was announced, apps such as NameTag began springing up. NameTag’s idea was simple: that whenever you start a new conversation with a stranger, your Google Glass headset takes a photo of them and then uses this to check the person’s online profile. Dr. Joseph Atick, one of the pioneer entrepreneurs of modern face recognition, according to New York


Dubai Police to use Google Glass Dubai Police will soon use Google Glass to issue fines to errant motorists as well as identify wanted cars. Google Glass is a small computer mounted onto glasses. It can take photos, record video, access the internet and give directions among other uses. It is compatible with both Android and iOS. Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, Director of Smart Services at Dubai Police, told Gulf News that Smart Services teams have created two applications to be used by their officers. “One will allow them to take photos of traffic violations from the Glass, which will go instantly into our system, and the other application helps identify wanted cars.” Taking photos using Dubai Police’s Google Glass’ program is

simple. The officer just needs to tap the side of the glass and the photo, in addition to the exact location, time and date is automatically sent to the system. As for determining whether a car is wanted or not, Col Al Razooqi said that all the officer needs to do is look at number plates and the Glass will cross-reference the plates with the traffic department’s wanted vehicles database and alert him if any vehicle is wanted. 

Times, is now worried about facematching biometrics enabling “mass surveillance” and “basically robbing every one of their anonymity.” He is also concerned about what Google and Facebook will do with facial recognition if special safeguards aren’t put into place.

And since facial recognition takes place in public spaces, it is not even necessary for the person surveilled actively to “opt in” to the service. This, in turns, links to the subject of security, which for many companies and organizations is the ultimate application for facial recognition.

Unlike other biometric identifiers such as iris scans and fingerprints, facial recognition is designed to operate at a distance, without the knowledge or consent of the person being identified. Individuals cannot reasonably prevent themselves from being identified by cameras that could be anywhere – on a lamp post, attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle or, now, integrated into the eyewear of a stranger.

It’s important to understand the scale of change that is under way, because it is going to dictate what happens. Knowing about facial recognition, and how it is used by both governments and companies, are key to helping us face the future. Fingerprints and DNA data are protected under US Supreme Court law, providing a possible precedent for face-prints.  |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 21

Special Study

Illegal immigration to Europe by boat:

A dangerous, but common way

E very year, tens of thousands of migrants from poor and war-stricken

countries attempt a risky journey by boat for what they hope will be a better life in Europe, according to a Pew Research Centre study.

Boat migrants comprise less than 10 per cent of the more than one million new immigrants entering the European Union from non-EU countries by air, land or sea each year. A large number of migrants by sea come to Europe from countries in sub-Saharan Africa; Eritrea has surpassed Somalia as the leading country of origin in that region, says Phillip Connor is a Research Associate at the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. But among those known to have arrived illegally in 2013, over half came by sea – the highest percentage in recent years, according to Frontex, the EU border patrol agency which counts the number of migrants apprehended by border patrols along Europe’s shores. In some years, including 2009 and 2011, roughly half of migrants illegally entering Europe came by sea. 22 |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ |

In other years, such as 2010 and 2012, majorities of unauthorized migrants crossed by land. Overstaying a legal visa is another way to become an unauthorized migrant in Europe. Some migrants who arrive by sea, land and air may initially live in Europe with legal status but stay longer than their visas allow, becoming unauthorized residents. Many migrants travel very long and perilous journeys through several countries before embarking on their final journey by boat. The exact number of people who die making the voyage from Africa to Europe is hard to know, but unofficial reports by advocacy groups estimate as many as 10,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean during the last two decades or so. Many are fleeing potentially dangerous situations at home, and as conflicts around the world have changed, so have the national origins of migrants by sea, for in-

stance. Today, roughly a quarter originate from Syria, often crossing through several countries before taking the final voyage from ports in Egypt or Libya. But there were very few boat migrants from Syria five years ago. At that time, nearly a quarter of boat migrants entering Europe were from Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 10 per cent are from Afghanistan. Europe isn’t the only destination for migrants arriving illegally by sea, but it is a popular one. Some migrants have set sail for the US from Cuba and Haiti, but only about 3,000 were known to have arrived illegally by boat in the US in 2013. In recent years, Australia has received an increasing number of sea migrants – many from Sri Lanka, Iran and Afghanistan – though the number attempting to access Australia also is smaller than the number entering Europe, numbering about 18,000 in 2013. 



Most Europeans support limiting immigration I n the seven European Union (EU) countries polled in a Pew Research

Centre’s Global Attitudes Project, many respondents said they would like to see fewer immigrants allowed into their countries. This is especially true in Greece and Italy, where views about immigrants and their impact on society tend to be particularly negative. Many believe that immigrants do not want to adopt their new country’s customs and ways of life, and many think immigrants are taking jobs away from native-born citizens. Consistently, college graduates express more positive attitudes toward immigration than those with less education. Huge majorities in both Greece (86 per cent) and Italy (80 per cent) say they want fewer immigrants allowed into their countries. More than half in the United Kingdom and France hold this view, as do 47 per cent in Spain. In Germany and Poland, the public is closely divided between those who want less immigration and those who say immigration levels should remain about the same as they are now. Very few people in these EU nations want increased immigration. The percentage saying they believe more immigrants should be allowed into their country ranges from 14 per cent in Germany to only one per cent in Greece.

tions polled. Roughly seven-in-ten Greeks and Italians say immigrants are a burden on the country because they take jobs and consume social benefits. Poles and the French also lean more toward this position. In contrast, the British and even more so Germans tilt toward saying immigrants make their country stronger because of their work and talents. Opinion is closely divided on this question in Spain.

Many people in the seven European Union nations surveyed express negative views about minority groups and Muslims in their country. At least half of those surveyed in Italy, Greece and Poland say they have a negative opinion of the Muslims who live in their country.

Greece is the only country where at least half (51 per cent) say that immigrants are more to blame for crime than other groups, although nearly as many Germans (48 per cent) and Italians (45 per cent) also hold this view. Less than a third of the public in Spain, Poland and the UK believe immigrants are more to blame for crime than other groups.

The most favorable ratings are registered in France (72 per cent favorable), which among the seven nations surveyed has the highest percentage of Muslims in the national population. In Spain, about half of those age 50 and older (51 per cent) give Muslims in their country an unfavorable rating; only a third of people under age 30 say the same. 

Public opinion is divided on this question in Spain, while in Germany and the UK a majority says they have positive views of Muslims.

Public opinion regarding the economic impact of immigration varies considerably across the na|Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 23

In Focus

Connectedness among economies enhances global flows G lobal flows have been a common thread in economic growth for

centuries, since the days of the Silk Road, through the mercantilist and colonial periods and the Industrial Revolution. But today, the movement of goods, services, finance, and people has reached previously unimagined levels.

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Global flows are creating new degrees of connectedness among economies—and playing an ever-larger role in determining the fate of nations, companies, and individuals; to be unconnected is to fall behind. Flows of goods, services, and finance reached $26 trillion in 2012, or 36 percent of global GDP, 1.5 times the level in 1990. Now, one in three goods crosses national borders, and more than one-third of financial investments are international transactions. In the next decade, global flows could triple, powered by rising prosperity and participation in the emerging world and by the spread of the Internet and digital technologies. A new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, Global flows in a Digital Age: How trade, finance, people, and data connect the world economy, examines the inflows and outflows of goods, services, finance, and people, as well as the data and communication flows that underlie them all, for 195 countries around the world. Today, according to the study estimates, they add between $250 billion and $450 billion to it every year, or 15 to 25 percent of the total. In addition, it find that countries with a larger number of connections in the global network of flows increase their GDP growth by up to 40 percent more than less connected countries do. The Connectedness Index ranks 131 countries on total flows of goods, services, finance, people, and data and communication.


labor-intensive or capital-intensive variety. Exchanges of goods such as aircraft and automobiles, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, and microelectronics, as well as professional services and foreign direct investment flows, are growing faster than others. While the last era of globalization was driven largely by sourcing low-cost production, the next era will center on the rise of the global knowledge economy. Digital technologies, which reduce the cost of production and distribution, are transforming flows in three ways: through the creation of purely digital goods and services, “digital wrappers” that enhance the value of physical flows, and digital platforms that facilitate cross-border production and exchange. The enormous potential impact of digitization is only beginning to emerge. Consider that international Skypecall minutes grew to 40 percent of the present level of traditional international calls in just a decade. Or that cross-border e-commerce has grown to represent more than 10 percent of trade in goods in less than a decade. Existing routes of flows are broadening and deepening and new ones emerging as more countries participate. Developing economies now account for 38 percent of global flows, nearly triple their share in 1990. South– South goods flows between developing countries have grown from roughly $200 billion (six percent of goods flows) in 1990 to $4.2 trillion (24 percent) in 2012. 

The index shows that developed economies remain more connected than emerging ones: Germany tops the list, followed by Hong Kong and the US. Emerging economies are less connected to global flows, but some are climbing up the ranks rapidly: Morocco and Mauritius gained 26 places and 28 places, respectively, between 1995 and 2012—the largest increases in our index. Saudi Arabia went up 19 places, reflecting the rising value of oil exports and the recycling of oil wealth into global financial markets. India gained 16 places in this period, thanks to growth in services flows, and Brazil jumped 15 on the strength of expanding services and financial flows. Within each type of flow, MGI finds that knowledge-intensive ones are growing faster than the |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 25

opinion column

The future: More tech, more human a Pew Research Center R ecently, study uncovered that 59 per cent

of Americans are optimistic that technological advances over the next 50 years will make life in the future better. The technology transformation will have a much more profound and positive impact on our daily lives than many of the technologies covered in the study.

Brett Beranek Biometrics Expert Nuance

Although the video pushes the envelope by showcasing what seems to be an omniscient assistant, there is no doubt in my mind that we are headed in this direction of a more human-like interaction with technology. By extension, our interaction with the organizations that we deal with on a daily basis will increasingly resemble this conversational, intelligent and efficient interaction. However, we also want that experience to be conversational and personalized. This is the great paradox of the 21st century, and a challenge for enterprises to deliver on a human-like experience delivered by computers. Fortunately, the technology exists today to deliver on this expectation. Virtual assistants that are powered by natural language technology and that possess dialog management and contextual capabilities can deliver a humanlike experience by replacing mouse clicks and screen taps with conversational chat or speech.

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With a virtual assistant, the interaction with technology and humans becomes so similar that we sometimes wonder if we are dealing with a human or a computer. Today, virtual assistants are just beginning to permeate websites and mobile apps. I predict that with the continued advances in the technologies that underpin virtual assistants, over the next few years our interactions with the companies that we deal with will become increasingly conversational, increasingly intelligent and increasingly personalized. In other words, increasingly human. As for 50 years from now, I wouldn’t dare make predictions as to specific new technologies that will transform our lives. But I do strongly believe that whatever changes are coming will be beneficial and will certainly make our lives richer than ever before. 

opinion column

The role of IT at the borders I n today’s economic environment, it is critical that traditional customs and border control practices are modified and enhanced in order to meet the rapidly changing nature of the global travel and trade industries.

Our border is a national asset and if it is not secure, if our systems are not reliable and effective, trade systems and the legitimate movement of people cannot progress. Border control systems and processes can add to economic productivity by fostering rapid movement, or detract from this growth by unnecessarily impeding legitimate movement through the border. To ensure the balance of facilitation and security is maintained in the future, we need to be serious about continuing to break new ground with our processes and applications. To assist legitimate travelers, we have already seen significant expansion of the Smart Gate technology in terms of both physical gate installations and nationalities able to access the system. Smart Gate gives eligible travelers arriving into Australia’s international airports the option to self-process through passport control. Smart Gate use will be permanently expanded to eligible US citizens arriving at any one of Australia’s eight major international airports. The US will become the third nation to be granted permanent eligibility to use Smart Gate, along with New Zealand and the UK.

This is a fantastic, tangible outcome in managing traveler growth across Australia’s eight major international airports. No doubt, travelers into Australia will be pleased to face shorter queues at our airports. It uses the data in the ePassport and facial recognition technology to perform the customs and immigration checks that are usually conducted by an Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Officer. Mobile and web-based self-service facilities such as eTRS, for the Tourist Refund Scheme, are also currently in development. We are also exploring the use of automated, self-service technologies for outbound travelers.

Michaelia Cash Assistant Minister Immigration and Border Protection Australia

By 2017, it is projected that we will be processing more than 20 million departing travelers each year. We expect trials of this automated outbound traveler system to start in Brisbane airport in July. Our goal for the future is to provide a ‘low touch’ experience for legitimate travelers, where traditional barriers are significantly reduced. Through the spirit of collaboration and innovation, we can continue to build a global border protection community that is resilient to the challenges ahead and wellpositioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are coming.  Excerpts from a speech at the World Customs Organization IT Conference, Brisbane |Manafez Dubai |June ٢٠١٤ | 27

Profile for Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management

Manafez dubai english june 2014  

Manafez dubai english june 2014