The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reportedly refused to issue a work visa for a British woman allegedly due to her Somali heritage.
The woman, named Samia, took to Twitter yesterday to announce that a school in the UAE had initially offered her a position which she called her “dream come true.” The human resources department then contacted her, however, and informed her that the government will not issue her a work visa and that her offer was revoked.
She cited her ethnicity as the determining factor of the refusal, claiming: “Because I am of Somali descent, despite being British born and raised, the UAE will not offer me working visa.”
In the screenshots of the emails she posted, in which she expressed her concerns of racism, the school and its assistant head teacher did not deny that the reason was her Somali heritage.
“I genuinely cannot believe [the] UAE are not allowing me to have a visa because of my Somali ethnicity,” she said. “No one is even denying the reason it [sic] racism. They said it’s a shame. They can’t do anything clearly.”
In November, the UAE suspended the issuing of visas to citizens of Somalia and 12 other countries.
Relations between Somalia and the Emirates have deteriorated greatly over the years, with Mogadishu in 2018 rejecting a port agreement between the UAE and the self-declared sovereign state of Somaliland which it claimed infringed on its sovereignty.
Somali authorities then reportedly arrested an Emirati spy network operating in the country in 2019. In June last year, Mogadishu also rejected an offer by Abu Dhabi to reopen the Sheikh Zayed Hospital – which offered free healthcare to Somalis until it was closed in 2018 – in return for Somalia joining the war in Yemen.
The most recent case of tensions occurred two months ago, when Somalia accused the UAE of encouraging unrest within the country and belittling its government.