UAE wants illegal expats to leave before Sept. 1



Despite the amnesty, however, many illegal residents don’t want to leave the country because they are up to their necks in debt. For some the debt came by paying costs to get to the Gulf in the first place, in many cases through sketchy middlemen long on promises but sometimes short on legal documentation and legitimate employment offers.

“I have time until Sept. 2 to legalize my status. I will find a permanent job and obtain a residence visa,” says Abdul Kader of Kerala’s Palakkad district. “I think now it is easy to find a sponsor as I am experienced. Anyway, I don’t want to go back home as I have debt of 180,000 rupees which I paid for my visa.”

Dubai authorities are saying that workers that linger in the UAE illegally after Sept. 2 risk finding themselves even deeper in debt, with fines up to 100,000 dirhams. (Those harboring illegal residents face twice the penalty and up to two months in prison.)

Mani Shelvam, an amnesty seeker from Sri Lanka, arrived in Dubai two years ago after paying 220,000 rupees in Sri Lankan currency to a middleman. Shelvam said the middleman facilitated his trip to Sharjah, but abandoned him without money after his arrival. “He never came back and I was wandering in the streets without food and water,” he said. “Now I don’t have my passport or any other document.”

Around 80 percent of the UAE’s 4.1 million residents are expatriate workers; 1.2 million of them are Indian nationals.

Dubai authorities have said they have about 50,000 passports of illegal workers from different countries. The Indian mission in Dubai alone has received more than 22,000 passports from Dubai authorities.

At the Indian consulate, 25 women volunteers are working to help amnesty-seekers. “The women volunteers arrive at the centers at 8 a.m. and spend the day helping people. Many of them represent various associations,” said B.S. Mubarak, a consulate spokesman. “We’ve had at least 11,000 workers seeking amnesty and outpasses, about 70 percent of which work in the construction sector. We are still issuing outpasses to workers that show up requesting amnesty.”

Mubarak said amnesty-seekers must produce photocopies of their passports or at least numbers and other details of their passports. Details of persons unable to produce passport particulars or photo identity documents from India would have to be sent to India for verification. Issue of emergency certificates (needed to facilitate deportation) to all such persons would be delayed.

The Indian Consulate has made special arrangements for companies seeking to employ laborers during the amnesty. Such companies can collect particulars of job-seekers at its collection centers in Dubai and Sharjah by placing collection boxes or sending their representatives to meet them.

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi is negotiating with several airlines for a discounted one-way fare for the benefit of amnesty-seekers. The embassy will open seven counters and a 24-hour telephone helpline from Monday.

Authorities in India have withdrawn a recently issued regulation that barred Indian citizens returning home on amnesty from landing at most airports in the country. The regulation, had it not been lifted, would have required amnesty-seekers to land only at Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Trivandrum international airports.

However, according to the latest revised regulation, Indians flying back on amnesty can land at any international airport in the country.

The Bangladesh Embassy and Consulate sources said they have reduced the charges of its outpasses from 70 dirhams to 20 dirhams. They said they are working during the weekends to ensure that the people could get travel permits quickly.

More than 500 Filipinos have already sought assistance at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) regarding the amnesty program.

POLO-OWWA has assigned three of its Arabic-speaking public relations officers to provide translation/interpretation and liaising assistance to Filipino nationals across the six Emirates.

The Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) has issued more 18,000 outpasses as of Thursday, DNRD officials said. “Now Sunday and Monday are earmarked for Indian amnesty-seekers; Tuesday for Pakistanis, Afghans, Sri Lankans and Filipinos; Wednesday for Bangladeshis, nationals of Arab and African countries, Russia and other Eastern European countries; Thursday is for women amnesty-seekers of all nationalities. This is to reduce the rush at the Follow-Up and Investigation Section of Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department in Jumeirah,” the officials added.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *