No one wants to be ‘illegal’

ABU DHABI — Egyptian carpenter Abdul Hameed Al Sayed, 26, has been in the UAE for four years. He, however, spent last year working illegally without a labour card, visa or health insurance.

By Ahmed Abdul Aziz

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Published: Thu 12 Jul 2007, 9:11 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:07 AM

“I will travel in the next few days to benefit from the amnesty. I waited for my sponsor to complete the formalities. However, he missed the appointments in the Ministry of Labour (MoL) two times before,” added the worker.

“We call upon all the concerned authorities to push sponsors to help us to complete the cancellation formalities or to drop the absconding report to facilitate the procedures,” added Abdul Hameed.

He also alleged that many workers have been forced by the sponsors to pay Dh5,000 for quashing ‘absconding report’ or for transfer of sponsorship.

The workers face many problems when they stay and work illegally, Abdul Hameed said. “I know that we are wrong, but what I can do when an employer delays my salary? When I demanded my salary, he threatened me of visa cancellation coupled with a year’s ban,” he added.

When faced with such a problem, many workers prefer to escape from their sponsors or employers, he pointed out.

“The illegals are vulnerable because they have no rights such as medical care or even to go the MoL for filing a complaint in case of delay in payment of wages. Nobody likes to be an illegal. It’s the circumstances which force some workers to abscond,” he added.

“By being illegals, we always suffer. Some of us who have serious ailments need to buy expensive medicines. In such cases, we usually borrow money from friends to help the sick,” Abdul Hameed explained.

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