Global Alert – Reduced Working Hours During Ramadan

What has changed

During the months of May and June, several countries with large Muslim populations, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, and Malaysia will be observing the Ramadan holiday. This will slow down processing times for any pending visa applications. Please expect all companies and government offices to have shorter working hours. Processing delays can also be expected during this time.

Who is affected

Clients with assignees who have pending immigration processes for countries with majority Muslim populations. Clients awaiting the processing of applications in this region.

What to expect

Ramadan is a very important period for Muslim believers, particularly in the Middle East. During Ramadan, most Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Ramadan lasts for thirty (30) days based on the Arabic calendar, and is followed by Eid al-Fitr, which lasts about three (3) to ten (10) days. During Eid al-Fitr, every business/government office will be closed for celebration.

Each global region has its own version and calendar for this holiday.

Middle East (Including UAE, Egypt and Morocco)
This region observes Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. The holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin Monday, May 6, 2019, and is expected to end Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Dates are approximate, as the exact timing of Ramadan will depend on sighting of the moon. Ramadan is then followed by Eid al-Fitr, a three (3) to ten (10) day holiday.
  • Please note that the Emigra/Newland Chase Office in Dubai will keep the following working hours during Ramadan: 8:00AM to 2:00PM
  • UAE Government offices working hours: 9:00AM to 2:00PM
In Indonesia, the Ramadan holiday is known as Lebaran. Application processes will slow down towards the beginning of June. All Indonesian government offices will be closed in observance of this holiday from May 30, 2019 to June 9, 2019. Immigration is expected to be fully functional and resume accepting applications on June 17, 2019.

In Malaysia, the Ramadan holiday is referred to as Hari Raya and is expected to fall on June 5, 2019. The impact in Malaysia is minimal when compared to disruptions in processing times and working hours in the Middle East region.

During Ramadan the working hours of the Malaysia Digital Economy Coorporation (MDEC) will be from 8:00AM to 4:00PM. In view of Hari Raya which is expected to fall on June 5-6, 2019, MEDEC’s Xpats Service Centre will be closed from June 4-7, 2019. They will resume normal operations on June 10, 2019.

To ensure a smooth process for expatriate services, MDEC has advised deadlines for submissions as per below dates:

  • Stage 1 Approval for Employment Pass (EP) and Related Pass: Applications must be filed by May 22, 2019 in order to obtain decision before the MDEC closure. For applications filed after this date, a decision will be obtained after June 10, 2019.
  • Stage 2 Endorsement of EP and Related Pass: Passports must be submitted for endorsement by May 28, 2019 in order for the Immigration authorities to complete endorsements before the MDEC closure.

What you need to do

Advise clients to adjust expectations accordingly and to be aware of delays in response times for processing applications for each respective region. Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.