Wait for your turn as jail is full, absconders told

AN Abu Dhabi-based expatriate, who sought anonymity, called up Khaleej Times' hotline on behalf of 20 others to complain against the Al Wathba Prison in the emirate.

By Complaints Corner

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Published: Tue 1 Aug 2006, 9:55 AM

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

He said his brother, who had left his sponsor, had failed to convince authorities concerned to send him to jail.

"His previous sponsor cancelled his visa and reported the case to the police, who issued a circular and blacklisted his name. A few days back he turned himself in because he wanted to go back home."

The complainant contended that, according to the law, his brother had to complete a prison term before being considered for deportation.

"But the problem the prison authorities cited when he approached them was of a full prison. They asked him to come after two or three days to take his turn," he said, adding that around 20 other workers were reporting everyday to the prison to clinch suitable dates for detention and, later, deportation.


An official source at the Interior Ministry said that illegal workers were usually given dates to arrive at the prison since thousands of them would otherwise turn up for deportation.

Such workers only cared about avoiding air fares and fines imposed on them for violating the law, he said.

Prisons were full of workers who had absconded from their sponsors and demanded deportation to their respective countries, he said.

To avoid the spread of communicable diseases among inmates, prison authorities would usually set dates for newcomers.

Such absconders were not considered law-breakers but figured on the administrative circular and, therefore, had to be deported, he said.

Some workers, in order to avoid paying hefty fines in lieu of overstaying in the country, turned themselves in. Others who had been on the run for almost 15 years would turn themselves in for deportation, he observed.

Salary ceiling confusion

THE Khaleej Times' hotline has been receiving numerous calls from readers seeking information on the sponsorship of their parents on residence visas. Many callers complained that the rule on the salary ceiling that permitted an applicant to sponsor one or both of his parents was not clear.


Khaleej Times contacted Colonel Rashid Bakheet, assistant director, Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD).

Bakheet said that applicants needed to differentiate between the salary requirement for sponsoring a family (wife and kids) on residence visas, and the one for sponsoring parents.

"For sponsoring a parent, the applicant should be earning a minimum of Dh6,000 plus accommodation, or should be drawing a total salary of Dh7,000 per month."

"The application should be attached to a labour contract attested by the Ministry of Labour substantiating the salary one earns."

Also required are documents proving that the applicant is the sole supporter of the parent and that there is no one else back in the home country to take care of them.

Applications for residence visas for parents were classified under humanitarian cases and were looked into by a special committee, he added.

"The committee studies the applications on individual basis and submits its recommendation on each to the Ruler's Office for approval," he said. The visa, in case of approval, was issued only for one year but was renewable, he added.

"The renewal of the visa also depends on the status of the sponsor with regard to his salary and job."

"He has to furnish documents proving that his salary still enables him to sponsor his parents and that there had not been any decrease in his salary during the one-year validity of the visa he earlier obtained for the parent," Col. Bakheet explained.

As for residence visas of family members (wife and children), applicants need to earn a minimum salary of Dh3,000 plus company accommodation or Dh4,000 without accommodation. Applicants should also belong to categories allowed to sponsor their families.

Under the rule, blue collar workers and others falling into such category, as also domestic helps, are not eligible to sponsor their families.

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