Muslim holiday will delay processing in many countries

16 Sep 14

GLOBAL

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Around the beginning of October, countries with majority or large Muslim populations across the Middle East, Africa and Asia will shut down for periods ranging from two to nine days in observance of Eid al-Adha.

What does the change mean? Companies and foreign nationals seeking government services should submit applications now to avoid delays caused by the holiday break.

  • Implementation timeframe: Approximately Oct. 5-9, dates to be confirmed.
  • 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 break will cause a delay of up to one week, depending on local holiday schedules.
  • Next steps: Companies and applicants should factor the holiday period into business timelines and file as early as possible before the first week of October.

Background: Holiday schedules will vary by region and country. The United Arab Emirates announced its public sector will close approximately Oct. 5-9, although precise dates have not been announced.

Several countries in Asia, including Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore, where the holiday is also called Hari Raya Haji, have announced government closures on Oct. 6. India’s Foreigners Regional Registration Offices in Mumbai and Delhi will be closed Oct. 2-6.

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). Some countries do not confirm the exact dates until the lunar moon is sighted. The holiday, which falls on the 10th day of the lunar month, is expected to fall on Oct. 4 or 5. Other countries use astronomical calculations and fix the date in advance.

BAL Analysis: Companies and foreign employees and assignees should check with their BAL attorney for local schedules that could impact urgent filings. Note that the holiday will also close private sector offices, but for shorter periods.

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

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