Filipina single mother seeks amnesty after husband abuses, abandons her in UAE
She is seeking a divorce and will apply for amnesty to start her life anew.
More overstaying expats are emerging every day, pinning their hopes on the upcoming amnesty programme not just to rectify their status but also to pick up their lives.
One of them is Jamila, 26, a Filipina who converted to Islam and a mother of a four-month-old baby boy. She has overstayed her visa and could not apply for passport for her baby after her Pakistani husband took all the legal documents and abandoned her. She is seeking a divorce and will apply for amnesty to start her life anew.
"My husband beat me every time. It started after I found out that he was having an affair with a married Pakistani woman while I was pregnant with our baby," Jamila told Khaleej Times. "Before this illicit affair, my husband tried flirting with a young woman who rejected him."
"I was really afraid of my husband. He even told me 'I know where to hurt you that will show no bruises.' And he always hit me on the head," she added.
Her husband's physical abuse and mental torture were not the only ordeals that Jamila had to go through. She was dismissed from work last December, while she was six months pregnant, because her boss told her that her abdomen was already "too big" for her to work.
Jamila gave birth in March with no medical insurance and her husband's meager income as a family driver was not enough to cover the expenses.
But instead of providing for the family, Jamila said her husband took "advantage" of her dire situation to make a racket. "My husband used my Islamic certificate to solicit money from unsuspecting generous individuals. He was able to raise money which he sent to his family in Pakistan. My bill at the hospital was around Dh15,000, and only after I begged so much that my husband paid the hospital bill," added Jamila, who married him in Pakistan last year.
Even after giving birth, the physical abuse from her husband did not cease. It only got worse, Jamila said. So she left her husband and lived with her mother in Sharjah.
Jamila said her husband did not give any paternal support. She added her husband even tried to kidnap her baby. "Once, I really had no money so I begged my husband to help me bring my baby to the clinic. After the medical check-up, my husband just ran away with my baby. I sought the help of the police and only after the Sharjah Family and Child Protection authorities intervened I was able to recover my baby," she recounted.
With no source of income, Jamila said she was forced to use credit cards for her own expenses and to buy milk for the baby. "I used credit cards to pay for medical check-ups and I already had loans even before I lost my job. Now banks are going after me. I think my total debt from various banks is around Dh100,000," she said.
Jamila tried to look for a job but with no luck. After giving birth, she applied for a long-term visit visa and it has already expired. She was not put under her husband's visa because his salary did not meet the required income to sponsor a wife. Moreover, her baby still has no passport and residence visa.
"My husband withheld all our legal documents (attested and translated marriage certificate, baby's birth certificate, Emirates ID) and I could not apply for a passport for my baby," Jamila said.
"I gave birth on March 18 and the 120-day grace period to register my baby has lapsed so that means I incur Dh100 fine every day," she added.
Jamila said she is pinning her hope on the upcoming amnesty to waive off all residency penalties and to be given a six-month visa to search for a job.
A graduate from a reputable Philippine state college, Jamila worked for four years as an executive secretary for a company in Dubai before working as an office administrator at a shipping company in Sharjah.
Jamila added: "I'm filing for a divorce from my husband and I also hope to benefit from the upcoming amnesty programme. I want to stay in the UAE to seek for good employment. I'm determined to start life afresh with my baby."
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