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Authorities in Dubai on Wednesday warned employers against hiring people who have overstayed their visas and those who are living in the country illegally.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai launched an initiative called ‘Country Without Violators’ to raise the public’s awareness of the dangers and penalties associated with employing visa violators.
Hiring a person who is not allowed to work in the country is an offence punishable by a minimum fine of Dh50,000, said Counsellor Dr Ali Humaid bin Khatim, senior advocate-general and head of residency and naturalisation prosecution.
According to the law, penalties could reach Dh100,000, in addition to a two-month jail term, if an employer is found to have hired an individual who came into the country illegally, Bin Khatim added. Visa violators would also have to face hefty fines or imprisonment and deportation.
Col Ali Salem Al Shamsi, director of the anti-infiltrators department at the Dubai Police, said violations of the country’s residency rules are also a security concern.
“This year, there were 18 alarming crimes that had been traced to such violators. However, this has been a significant decrease from the figures recorded in previous years, thanks to the efforts of the Dubai Police,” Col Al Shamsi said.
Col Ali Al Shamsi added that they are working with other government authorities to ensure that residence visa violators don’t overstay or get jobs. “We are trying to check illegal residents through various measures by conducting regular inspection campaigns across the emirate.”
Authorities advised people staying illegally in the country to avail of the ongoing UAE visa amnesty scheme which ends on December 31, to legalise their status or leave the country without having to pay fines.
Initiatives to help violators legalise status in the pipeline
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai is currently working on “several initiatives” that could help visa violators legalise their status. These would apply to those whose visas have expired after March 2020, said Brig-Gen Khalaf Al Ghaith, assistant director-general.
After a series of studies on overstaying residents, the initiatives were put together and had been submitted for approval, he added.
When the pandemic struck, hundreds of people were left stranded in Dubai, and the authorities had extended all necessary assistance to fly them home.
Since June, the GDRFA has repatriated 1,600 people, said Maj-Gen Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, deputy director of the GDRFA. Currently, there no other stranded individuals in Dubai, he added.
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