Phenomenon attributed to changing profile of Indians

Few Indians are queuing up to avail themselves of the two-month amnesty announced by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for all foreign nationals whose visas have expired.

“Around 2,000 people only have so far sought out passes,” said M.K. Lokesh, India’s Ambassador to the UAE. He told The Hindu that there were no signs that this trend would reverse.

The tepid response to the amnesty offer that expires on February 4 or to regularise expired visas by paying a fine, contrasts with earlier occasions when Indians without proper documents flooded airports to go home without paying a penalty. Around 40,000 Indians exited from the UAE in 2007 when amnesty was last announced.

The majority of people who have approached Indian diplomatic missions in the UAE for out-passes belong to the south Indian States, especially Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in that order.

Changing profile

Diplomatic sources said that the presence of fewer claimants for amnesty could be attributed to the changing profile of Indians. The number of residents who are without proper documents may have steeply dropped in recent years.

More jobs expected

However, some analysts are of the view that fewer people are leaving as they expect a second construction boom in the UAE would soon open up fresh job opportunities.

The government of Abu Dhabi announced on Sunday that it would pump in over $90 billion over the next five years to develop the emirate as a major world-class transport and communication hub.

Earlier, the government of Dubai announced plans to build the world’s largest shopping mall in the city along with 100 new hotels, and a Universal Studios theme park — projects that would open up massive white and blue collar jobs in the construction sector.

Biometric data

The recording of biometric data by immigration authorities of amnesty-seekers has led to an apprehension of an impending ban on employment. This may be a reason for many not opting to leave the Emirates. “There is no employment ban for amnesty-seekers right now, but some fear that a new order may later be passed that would bar their re-entry into the UAE even after fresh legal documentation has been acquired,” a diplomat said.

  • Majority of people, who have approached Indian missions in UAE for out-passes, belong to South Indian States

  • Indians in the UAE expect a second construction boom to commence there, opening up new job opportunities