Illegals prefer jail to paying return air ticket and a fine

ABU DHABI — Thousands of illegal workers in the country reportedly prefer going to prison and being deported rather than pay return air tickets and fines.

By Adel Arafah

Published: Tue 1 Aug 2006, 10:03 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:57 PM

"Prisons are full of workers absconding from their sponsors and have resorted to the police demanding deportation to their homelands ... this matter makes the Abu Dhabi Naturalisation and Residency Department (ADNRD) set dates for deportation of thousands of absconders," an official source told Khaleej Times.

Explaining why the ADNRD gives these dates, the source said the packing of prisons with those runaway workers runs counter to the health measures adopted by the police inside prisons as part of effort to prevent spread of communicable diseases among detainees if their numbers exceed the prisons' capacity.

According to him, the police does not view those absconders as law breakers but they fall under the administrative circular as absconding and therefore they need to be deported. "This is the measure demanded by those workers in order to avoid paying lofty fines they can't afford when they are nabbed by the police," he added.

Workers, he noted, who are given dates for deportation are those who run away from their sponsors for a period up to 15 years and report themselves to the police for deportation. This group, he further said, is treated in a different way than those arrested by the police for working with other sponsors. "The latter group will be referred to the public prosecution for trial," he said.

Khaleej Times has received complaints from workers wishing to go home through the deportation process but the police refuse to detain them and set dates for deportation.

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