Amnesty: Indian missions to open helpdesk in UAE
The general visa amnesty will start on August 1.
The Indian missions in the UAE will open a help desk, hotline and an exclusive email address to help maximum number of Indians staying in the country illegally to avail of the three-month amnesty, announced by the UAE Government. The general visa amnesty will start on August 1.
"By Monday, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate-General in Dubai will have a hotline, an email address and a helpline available to advise people. We want to try and help maximum number of Indians in whichever way we can. The consular department will be heading the task," Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri told Khaleej Times on Thursday.
"People staying illegally can directly come to the embassy or make use of the help desk and speak to a member of the embassy for details," he said.
The embassy, meanwhile, is still waiting for a formal directive from the UAE Government.
"Our constraint has been that we have not received anything officially from the UAE Government. On Tuesday, the Dubai government invited representatives from the consulate and we got a briefing about the procedures in Dubai. We are expecting that the procedures in Abu Dhabi will be more or less the same," the ambassador said.
Associations to play key role
As part of preparations, the ambassador on Thursday met heads of some 30 different Indian community associations to brief them about the scheme. "Our endeavour was to share information we have at the moment with these associations. We have urged them to use their respective databases and channels to get the word out and create awareness among members of the Indian community. Associations can collate the material and bring it to the embassy," Suri said after the meeting.
"We also wanted to seek feedback from senior members of the community, who had seen the conduct of previous amnesty programmes and incorporate their suggestions into our own systems," he said. The meeting also deliberated on issues like payment of fines and air fares.
"It will be a collaborative effort between the community associations and the embassy. I am very enthused by the positive spirit of the community associations, who have ensured to mobilise resources."
The associations will send volunteers hailing from different Indian states to work with the embassy. Such a step will help to cater to the diverse Indian population in the UAE.
Suri has urged the members of the Indian community to take advantage of the opportunity and not to stay illegally.
"Amnesty will bring relief to the Indians who find themselves stranded in no-man's land either because they have overstayed their visas or entered the country illegally or been placed in the absconders' category. We have also discussed about those who may be in a position to regularise their stay. However, we should be clear about our objective that those who are here illegally should find a way to either become legal or safely get back to India," the ambassador added.
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