We've reported in the recent past on the difficulties faced by foreign businesses in getting visas to work in Iraq. This week Iraq Oil Report has found that the reason for the delays is a decision by the office of the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, that applications for visas don’t just go through the Interior Ministry but through the prime minister’s office.
The report cites two anonymous sources, and says that the Ministry has not provided any rationale for the decision. It quotes one employee of an international oil company as saying "the visas are paralyzing us ... If we go out, when do we go back in?".
The 'visa blackout' is affecting everyone from labourers to prospective investors, top executives, managers, and technicians with specialized skills.
(Source: Iraq Oil Report)