UAE amnesty: Dh170k fine waived for Filipina, to finally marry Emirati fiancÚ
The couple flew out of Dubai to get married in the Philippines.
A big joyful smile was etched over the face of Filipina expat Yunilyn Liamzon. Not only did she return home after overstaying in the UAE for almost eight years, she left the country on Saturday with her Emirati fiancÚ to get married in the Philippines.
Clutching her travel documents in one hand and her fiancÚ's hand with the other, Liamzon, 40, told Khaleej Times: "Many lives have been changed for the better because of the UAE's immigration amnesty program. For me, the amnesty has paved the way for my matrimony."
Liamzon, a resident in Ajman, joined 116 kababayans (compatriots), including eight minors, for the second batch of overstaying Filipinos repatriated by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
The first batch, composed of 101 Filipinos, flew back home on August 15. The Philippine government footed the bill for their one-way ticket and also paid for their outpass worth Dh221 and another Dh521, if they had an absconding case. They were also given $100 (Dh365) each (excluding the minors) as "humble welfare assistance." The money was sourced from Philippine Assistance to Nationals fund.
Liamzon said she couldn't be more happier. "I did not pay a single dirham from my pocket. I'm very thankful to the UAE government for waiving my overstaying penalties and to our (Philippine) government for the free ticket and assistance," she added.
"My fiancÚ, who will be paying for his own air fare, and I really want our wedding to happen in the Philippines so that my family can witness it. I also want my husband-to-be to see the beautiful place where I grew up. Our trip back home is like an extended Eid holiday for us," added Liamzon, a born Muslim who hails from Davao City, the hometown of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.
Liamzon, who worked as a beautician, came to the UAE in 2010 on an employment visa. She had legal documents and went through the proper channels such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). She also had a certification from the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Unfortunately, the first women's salon she worked at in Sharjah closed shop in 2011. She then found another employer in Ajman who only made promises but did not process her visa.
"Every time I asked my employer about my visa, she would just say 'it's being processed'. This dragged on for a long time and my passport has expired in 2015 and my overstaying penalty has piled up to almost Dh170,000 before I applied for the amnesty," Liamzon explained.
A staff at the Philippine Consulate said they initially handled the case of Liamzon two years ago. "She (Liamzon) sought for our assistance and she said she was ready to pay the fines but the problem back then was she would get a travel ban," the staff said.
"That could be the reason why she did not proceed settling her case," added the staff, who also processed Liamzon's travel documents in lieu of her expired passport.
"But now there is the amnesty program and I can finally rectify my residency status. First I will go home to get married then return to the UAE on husband visa," said Liamzon , who met her Emirati fiancÚ, Ahmad Ali Alalili, six years ago.
For his part, Alalili told Khaleej Times that he is looking forward to meeting Liamzon's family. "I'm also excited to enjoy the beach and probably visit the residence of President Duterte in Davao City," he said.
"We will also prepare for our wedding and then I will return to the UAE on September 13 and process my wife's visa. We will settle here and raise our own family" added Alalili, who is employed at the Ajman Municipality.
Meanwhile, Philippine deputy consul-general Renato Duenas Jr said a total of 285 exit passes have been issued to overstaying Filipinos as of August 25 and more than 500 Filipinos have renewed their passport to avail of the six-month temporary visa.
The second batch of 117 Filipinos, who flew out of Dubai on Saturday (August 25) via Philippine Airlines flight PR 659, arrived Sunday morning (8.30 am Manila time) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, where they were received by officials from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.
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