No Hajj permit for expats in UAE

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Staff Report
ABU DHABI: Expatriates living in UAE will not be able to get the permit to perform Hajj this year and the next year. This has been done due to stricter adherence to national quotas from the Hajj authorities in Saudi Arabia.
The move was announced after a meeting last week between the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Hajj authorities across the world to discuss Hajj 2017 preparations.
According to the decision countries will be allowed to issue Hajj permits to their citizens only which will be counted towards the country’s Hajj quota.
Haj season this year recorded the registration of as many as 37,000 pilgrims — including 20,000 citizens — through the newly launched online registration system.
Haj packages ranged between Dh14,500 for bookings at 3 and 4-star hotels, and Dh30,000 for 5-star hotels, among other benefits.
Earlier, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs assigned 81 centres across the UAE for pilgrims registration.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia said it would increase Haj quotas for 2017, after the number of pilgrims hit a 10-year low last year.
The number of pilgrims will be gradually increased and restored to what it was five years ago, according to an official statement.
Saudi Arabia has imposed a 20 percent cut in the quota for foreign pilgrims, and a 50 percent cut for domestic pilgrims, to ensure safety during the expansion of the Grand Mosque.
Last year, 1.3 million foreign and 537,537 domestic pilgrims performed Haj, making a total of 1.86 million pilgrims. This was the lowest number of pilgrims recorded in the last 10 years.
More than 2.4 million Muslims performed the Haj pilgrimage in 2007.