Three-month amnesty begins in UAE

Exit permit fee is Dh221 for those who have a valid passport, ticket; Dh521 required to get the absconding case closed for former private sector worker

GDRFA facility for overstaying people in Al Aweer, Dubai. The UAE News photo by Abdul Basit

Abdul Basit

Finally, the time has come to take advantage of the UAE Government’s landmark initiative of a general amnesty and remove absconding status.

Under the scheme called ‘Protect Yourself via Rectifying Your Status,’ foreigners violating the residency law will be granted a three-month grace period to either leave the country voluntarily without prosecution or rectify their legal status by paying the required fees.

The visa relaxation will lift the fears of over-staying foreigners, reduce the burden on those facing hefty fines, while encouraging illegal expats to make their status legal or voluntarily depart, without incurring a ban.

It’s a gift from the government for overstaying people. There is no doubt that it’s a historic initiative with many options to the amnesty seekers, which were never available during the amnesty periods in the past.

“This is a great opportunity for illegal residents to rectify their status legally or leave the country without paying fines,” said Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, Director of Residency Affairs at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

This time amnesty offers a golden opportunity for absconders to get their absconding cases removed from the system and move to new visas, if they get job offers.

This year, the UAE government has announced a generous scheme to allow a 6-month temporary visa to those people who wanted to stay back in the country but could not find a new job. This option was not available in the previous amnesty schemes.

There were media reports that during the previous amnesty schemes, there were people who had been overstaying for many years without utilising the previous amnesty scheme. They mentioned that they did not avail the amnesty schemes in the past as they were not in a position to leave the country, but they could not find a new job during the given amnesty period. It is expected that this year the 6-month visa may give them a golden opportunity to regularize their status in 180 days, which is more than enough to find a new job.

Pakistani missions waive fees

It’s announced that Pakistanis seeking amnesty in the UAE will be issued free outpasses. It’s added that in certain cases their passport validity will also be extended free of cost for seven months, according to the Pakistani missions.

A spokesperson for the Pakistan Embassy and Consulate said that the embassy will be supporting the initiative fully by waiving the fees for outpasses issued and for passport extension to amnesty seekers.

The missions, a few weeks ago, issued a public notice to inform the community about the arrangements and contact numbers of relevant officials. “In this matter, all issues will be handled by the Community Welfare Counsellor,” said the Press counsellor.

The amnesty seekers have been asked to approach the community welfare sections in Abu Dhabi and Dubai or contact the officials on the following numbers 02-449334, 02-4447800 ext 217/337 or 04-3971748, 04-3966651.