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UAE amnesty 2018: Missions all prepared to offer help

Ashwani Kumar and Angel Tesorero/Abu Dhabi
Filed on July 23, 2018 | Last updated on July 23, 2018 at 11.04 pm
Amnesty seekers wait for their paper work at BLS service centre in Dubai.- KT file photo
Amnesty seekers wait for their paper work at BLS service centre in Dubai.- KT file photo

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri asked residents to avail of the scheme at the earliest.


Missions across the country are making sure that citizens staying illegally in the UAE do avail of the three-month visa amnesty scheme starting from August 1.

Indians make up the biggest workforce in the UAE and the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi has shored up support from various community organisations to create awareness about the amnesty programme.

On Monday, the embassy posted an elaborate description of the scheme on its twitter handle. Importantly, the embassy opened up helpdesk, hotline and a dedicated email service.

The hotline number is 050-8995583 and people can also email their queries to indemb.uaeamnesty18@gmail.com.

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri asked residents to avail of the scheme at the earliest.

"I sincerely urge all Indian nationals who are in the UAE without valid visas to take advantage of this amnesty. Please contact us or get in touch with us through the local Indian community associations. And do remember that the Indian embassy is your true friend when you are overseas. We are here to help you," the ambassador told Khaleej Times.

The embassy urged residents to check www.indembassyuae.gov.in or contact Indian Workers Resource Centre at 80046342 for further details.

Bangladesh embassy

Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE Mohammad Imran said a helpdesk is already functioning at the embassy as people had started coming from last two weeks.

The ambassador said the embassy has dedicated full resources for amnesty seekers. "I am personally monitoring the proceedings at the help desk. It is not just our consular department but all officers are engaged in the process. The whole embassy is working on this. We are conducting interviews to know about each person in need. All of them have different requirements," Imran said.

"We have some special cases too. Officers engage in one-to-one counselling and offer assistance."

Bangladeshi residents can call at 056-6117215. The ambassador said since there was no job visa issued for long time, the number of amnesty seekers will be less this time. "We don't expect huge numbers this time but it is too early to comment on the number," the ambassador added.

Philippine missions

Meanwhile, Rowena Pangilinan Daquipil, chargé d' affairs at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times: "We are ready to assist our overstaying kababayans (compatriots), especially with documentation that may be needed by authorities. The fear that they are illegal will be removed, and there are no punitive actions to rectify their status. After applying for amnesty, those who opt to stay will be given visa valid for six months to look for suitable employment. With this, they can have the flexibility to look for a better job."

Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said that a special team from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila will augment the Philippine consulate staff in Dubai. He also assured the overseas Filipino community of the consulate's commitment to assist fellow Filipinos availing of the UAE's amnesty programme in the most efficient and effective way possible."

Cortes said that the Philippine Consulate has been receiving numerous inquiries.

"The consulate's official Facebook page and even my personal FB messenger are filled with enquiries about the upcoming amnesty programme," he said.

Indonesian mission

Indonesian acting Consul-General Bambang Prija Hutama also welcomed the amnesty and called on his overstaying compatriots to take advantage of the programme.

"This will be very helpful for our citizens who have immigration issues."

Hutama said that around 3,000-4,000 Indonesian expats are expected to benefit from the amnesty. According to the Indonesian Consulate, there are around 52,000 Indonesian expats in Dubai, with 80 per cent of them working as domestic workers.

The Indonesian government has stopped deploying domestic workers to all GCC countries, including the UAE, in 2015. Hutama said this has resulted in many undocumented household service workers (HSWs) in the country.

"With the amnesty programme, they (HSWs) can go back home without having to pay for penalty. Now is the best time for me to bring them back to Indonesia," Hutama said.

He added the logistics and money for the repatriation of Indonesians are being prepared by the government in Jakarta.

Pakistan missions

Pakistan missions have already set up helpdesks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"Concerned community welfare attaché officer will offer all kind of assistance to Pakistani nationals in the UAE.  Those people without required travel documents are advised to contact Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi or the Consul-General in Dubai," Pakistan consulate Press counsellor Ashique Hussaain Shaikh said.

On the expected number of amnesty seekers, he said: "It is hard to ascertain the exact number of Pakistani nationals who want to avail of amnesty because some of them approach the immigration directly. However, we have set up hotline numbers and reached out to all nationals through our social media channels."

Pakistani nationals staying illegally can contact embassy in Abu Dhabi at 02-4447800 (Extension 217/337). Those in other emirates can call Dubai consulate at 04-3973600 (Extension 117/118) and 04-3966651.

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

angel@khaleejtimes.com

 





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