36 illegal immigrants arrested

ABU DHABI - Authorities in the capital have arrested 36 illegal aliens during raids in the Tourist Club area on Tuesday evening. According to sources at the Naturalisation and Residence Department, 31 of the arrested people were Asian women who were staying illegally in the country.

By S. Qamar Hasan

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Published: Thu 23 Oct 2003, 11:59 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:41 PM

The department, along with the Security Affairs Department and Abu Dhabi Police, has intensified raids to check on illegal aliens who failed to leave the country by ignoring a four-month general amnesty, declared by the government in January this year. The government extended the amnesty by another two months.

Most of the raids conducted since the end of the grace period have netted several hundred people who ignored the amnesty and stayed behind.

According to the sources, most of them are people who have abandoned their original sponsors and were moonlighting.

Though the number of male illegal aliens has sufficiently decreased since the amnesty, the females, mostly housemaids who arrived in the country a few weeks before the general amnesty, have taken the risk of staying illegally only to pay back the heavy debts incurred to secure work visas.

According to Major-General Saif Al Shafar, Under-Secretary, Security Affairs at the Ministry of Interior, about 300,000 illegal aliens left the country during the amnesty.

Since the end of the amnesty grace period in June, the authorities have resorted to a three-pronged campaign on a daily basis, on shops, establishments, labour camps and some residential areas, which are known to have cheap accommodation, suspected of sheltering illegal workers.

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