Offices to close for Muslim holiday

29 Sep 14

GLOBAL

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Offices will close this week as countries with significant Muslim populations observe the Eid al-Adha holiday.

  • What does the change mean? Companies and foreign nationals in need of government services should submit applications as soon as possible to avoid holiday-related delays.
  • Implementation timeframe: Approximately Oct. 3 through Oct. 6, and possibly longer, depending on the country.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for work permits, renewals and other immigration and labor-related services.
  • Impact on processing times: The holiday will cause delays because offices will be closed. It is also possible that offices will see a backlog of work associated with the holiday break when offices reopen.
  • Next steps: Companies and applicants should factor the holiday into business timelines and file as early as possible this week.

Background: Eid al-Adha, or “Feast of the Sacrifice,” is a Muslim holiday celebrating the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. It also commemorates the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son Ismail in an act of obedience to God (Allah).

Closures for Eid al-Adha vary by country.

The United Arab Emirates announced the holiday will run Friday, Oct. 3 through Monday, Oct. 6, with public offices closed on Sunday, Oct. 5 and Monday, Oct. 6. Qatar announced that the government would observe the holiday from Thursday, Oct. 2 until Sunday, Oct. 12, subject to possible change. A number countries in Asia including Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore (where the holiday is also called Hari Raya Haji) previously announced government closures on Monday, Oct. 6. India’s Foreigners Regional Registration Offices in Mumbai and Delhi announced that it would be closed Thursday, Oct. 2 through Monday, Oct. 6.

BAL Analysis: Some countries’ closures are set shortly before the holiday and may change even after dates of closures are announced. Companies and foreign employees should check with their BAL attorney for local schedules that could impact urgent filings. The holiday also impacts private-sector offices, but often for shorter periods. Companies or foreign nationals in need of urgent immigration-related services should submit applications immediately to avoid delays.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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