25,000 Indian illegals availed of amnesty

DUBAI - More than 25,000 Indian illegals have availed of amnesty during the last five months. And with just a couple of days remaining for the expiry of the one-month extension granted by the UAE government to the earlier four-month amnesty period, there seemed to be a significant decline in the number of applications being filed at the Indian consulate.

By Debasree S.

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Published: Thu 29 May 2003, 12:43 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:09 PM

Yesterday, there were only 60 applications for emergency certificates (ECs) that were filed at the Indian consulate.

A total of 1,810 Indian illegals have availed of the amnesty during the extended period till yesterday. According to the Indian Consul-General, Dr George Joseph, the extension of the amnesty period proved to be useful since a large number of Indian illegals applied for ECs to exit the country.

He estimated the total number of Indian illegals leaving the country since the amnesty began as more than 25,000, out of which more than 17,000 illegals would have applied for ECs in Dubai.

The Indian consulate confirmed that the number of applications for outpasses had, however, declined during the last one month, since a majority of the people who intended to leave the country during the amnesty period had already left by the end of April. Dr Joseph said that apart from a few "leftovers" almost all Indian illegals in the country had availed of the opportunity for exiting the country without any penalties.

A break-up of the figures available at the Indian consulate showed that 12,982 computer-generated emergency certificates were issued to the amnesty seekers apart from the 372 manually processed ECs were handed over to the illegals during this period.

The number of passports that the consulate received from the immigration department, labour and sponsors totalled 13,718 and those which were delivered to the individuals totalled 4,010. A total of 9,078 passports were still pending.

The returned Indian passports had earlier been incorporated into two different databases which the amnesty seekers could pick up before they exited the country. Indian amnesty seekers were urged to first check with the Indian consulate to see if their passports are among those that were lying with the immigration department. A large number of Indian volunteers were at work at the special amnesty section of the Indian consulate to retrieve the code of the missing passports and direct illegals to the immigration department, if their passports were among those incorporated in the database.

According to Dr Joseph, the new software used by the consulate to generate computerised emergency certificates had helped a great deal in streamlining procedures and accommodate the rush of amnesty seekers at the consulate. The large number of volunteers from different Indian associations also helped in expediting the procedures. He said that the response of the Indian community towards amnesty was very encouraging and that most of the illegals had taken up the opportunity that was made available to them by the UAE government.

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