UAE launches amnesty scheme for overstayers

Third such scheme in over a decade

Published - August 01, 2018 09:30 pm IST - Dubai

A UAE govt. employee helping a foreign worker at a visa processing centre.

A UAE govt. employee helping a foreign worker at a visa processing centre.

The UAE on Wednesday launched a landmark three-month visa amnesty programme that will benefit hundreds of illegal foreign workers, including Indians, who are overstaying their permits. The programme allows the workers to leave the country without paying penalty and also gives them six months to find a job.

The UAE is home to 2.8 million Indian expatriates, the largest expatriate community in the country.

The government did not release specific numbers, but said thousands of people, primarily labourers from countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines, will benefit from the the amnesty scheme.

As per Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), the entity responsible for entry and residence of foreigners in the UAE, visa violators before August 1, 2018 will be able to rectify their status legally during the amnesty period, which will end on October 31. Those who have been blacklisted and those who have legal cases against them are not eligible for amnesty.

This is the third such amnesty announced by the UAE government in just over a decade, media reports said. Overstaying residents have the option of exiting the country without facing punishment. Alternatively, they can also rectify their status by getting a new sponsored, valid visa.

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