Simplified Visa Procedures for Foreign Oil Workers

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

An Iraqi government spokesman said that the Baghdad government has decided to grant foreign oil company workers in Iraq assistance in obtaining entry visas and residency permits, following many complaints of difficulties faced by employees and engineers in entering Iraq to work for oil companies.

Faisal Abdullah, the spokesman for energy affairs for Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, told Al-Monitor that Shahristani held a meeting with the general director of the Department of Nationality in the Ministry of Interior and the general director of the Contracts Department in the Oil Ministry. During the meeting, the parties discussed facilitating the process of obtaining visas and residency permits for workers employed by foreign oil and power companies in Iraq.

Abdullah added that Shahristani’s office received many complaints regarding the delay in granting visas, thus obstructing the work of the companies.

Shahristani’s office oversees the ministries of oil and power, and is considered the main engineer of petroleum policies. Abdullah continued, “It takes foreign workers at least two months, sometimes three, to obtain a visa. We have received many complaints from foreign companies in this regard.”

“The meeting led to an agreement of cooperation between the departments of nationality, contracts and intelligence to guarantee that foreign workers employed by power and oil companies would receive a visa within two weeks at most,” he added.

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