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Combating coronavirus: Expats stranded in India seek clarity on return to UAE

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on June 2, 2020 | Last updated on June 3, 2020 at 06.17 am
Combating, coronavirus, covid19, Expats, stranded, India, clarity, return, UAE
Shariq Khan, the owner and founder of Gravity Events Management.- Supplied photo

The UAE began welcoming stranded UAE residents with valid visas from June 1.

Desperate to return to the UAE, expats stranded in India have said they are suffering business and job losses. On Sunday, India's aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger flights will continue till midnight on June 30.

"It is once again reiterated that foreign airlines shall be suitably informed about the opening of their operations to or from India in due course," a circular issued by the DGCA said.

The UAE began welcoming stranded UAE residents with valid visas from June 1.

Khaleej Times reached out to expats stuck in India, many of whom said they were separated from their families in the UAE.

Shariq Khan, owner and founder of Gravity Events Management - the company that manages events such as Gulf Food, Gitex and Femina Women Award - said he has been stranded in New Delhi with his mother since March 19.

"I was supposed go back to Dubai on March 21. However, since March 19 everything is shut. I came here on a brief family visit. I need to come back to Dubai as soon as possible as a lot of business matters are pending," he said. "Also, my aged father is alone in Dubai at the moment. Since Dubai has opened up businesses, it is essential we return."

The expat said there are many people stuck in India like him. "We need to get back to our jobs or the bills keep piling up. If the UAE is allowing residents to come back from all parts of the world, then why not India? If this confusion can be cleared, it can help many people. All of us are willing to take the precautionary measures needed, including home quarantine."

Rahil Shahryar, a Dubai expat for 12 years, said he has been stuck in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, since March 1. "I came to India for my cousin's wedding and was supposed to return on March 24, a day before the lockdown."

Shahryar, a banker, said he has been working from home. "It is challenging, as I cannot access everything remotely. For people in the UAE, there is a system in place, but for stranded employees like me, it is not possible to work remotely. I am trying to do a bit from here, but it is challenging."

Shahryar said he cannot afford to stay back any further as it could cause immense business and personal losses. "The dates keep getting delayed every few weeks, and making a decision in this situation is very challenging," he added. 


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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