Tighten laws to curb illegal immigration, says new study

ABU DHABI — A recent study has called for amendment to the federal immigration law introducing more stringent penalties and fines in order to curb illegal immigration.

By Muawia E. Ibrahim

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Published: Sun 5 Dec 2004, 11:41 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:23 PM

The study, prepared by Mohammed Anwar Ali Al Basoul, a legal adviser and researcher at the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police, suggested that the Federal Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners for 1973 and its Executive By-laws introduced in 1997 should be amended so that a fine could be imposed on infiltrators to help curb the illegal practice which poses danger to national security and represents serious concern to officials.

Stressing that infiltration is more dangerous than other illegal immigration crimes which invite fines, the study suggested that a fine ranging between Dh100 and Dh150 should be imposed on anyone who sneaks into the country illegally. The amended law should also stipulate that any amount of money found in the possession of the infiltrator should be confiscated.

The study, titled “Legal Aspects of Deportation in the UAE”, addressed the issue of economic and financial effects of deportation of infiltrators saying that these illegal immigrants constitute a heavy burden on national economy. “The law allows detention of any foreigner against whom a deportation order is issued for a period not exceeding two weeks. As Article 83 of the law permits the Ministry of Interior to bear the expense of deporting any foreigner from the country, the government caters to all expense related to this issue including accommodation and return tickets for some of these illegal immigrants, the study said.

"When we look at the statistics on infiltrators only and not all crimes related to violations of the federal law on entry and residence of foreigners during the past two years and take an average amount of Dh50 spent on each infiltrator including food and accommodation per day, the total expenditure stands at Dh1.12 million every year. This is in addition to the deportation expense i.e tickets, and security services, etc.,” the study noted.

It pointed out that infiltration crimes reported in 2001 topped the list of immigration crimes amounting to 1,574 out of a total of 2,824, or 55 per cent.

The nationalities involved in infiltration included Pakistani, Afghan, Bangladeshi, Iran, Indian, Yemeni and Sudanese.

Security-wise the study said the more effective the mechanisms used in deporting infiltrators, the less number of infiltrators we get in future.

To help curb the phenomenon at a larger scale and from the source countries, the study proposed the country should coordinate through diplomatic channels with the neighbouring countries from where infiltrators come. They should sign mutual agreements for the purpose. The UAE should accordingly inform these countries of the cases coming from and through them, to avoid any misunderstanding that might affect the good-neighbourly relations with these countries.

But according to officials, the number of infiltrators and illegal immigrants in the country has dropped significantly in recent years, thanks to the vigilant eye of the immigration authorities.

The officials attribute the drop in the number of infiltrators to the tight measures and surveillance carried out by immigration authorities at entry outlets, border points, and on regional waters, in collaboration with other agencies concerned.

The Ministry of Interior agencies use latest technologies in its search operations to nab infiltrators including state-of-the-art radars monitoring the country’s waters, helicopters and speed boats and heavy-duty vehicles.

The officials say that the UAE is targeted by many people from neighbouring countries who are tempted by the high income and living conditions. After managing their way into the country, infiltrators seek the help of friends or unscrupulous sub-contracting companies who offer them shelter and work illegally.

The phenomenon of infiltration represents a major concern to security agencies as many of those are involved in crime including drugs, theft and prostitution, officials say.

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