UAE visa amnesty scheme likely to be extended

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UAE visa amnesty scheme likely to be extended

Abu Dhabi - According to sources, multiple diplomatic missions in the country had requested the government to extend the scheme.


Anjana Sankar

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Published: Tue 30 Oct 2018, 10:01 PM

The UAE's ongoing visa amnesty scheme is likely to be extended, immigration sources in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have told Khaleej Times. The scheme, which began on August 1, was to end on October 31.
According to sources, multiple diplomatic missions in the country had requested the government to extend the scheme to give illegal residents more time to regularise their status.
"There is an extension of the amnesty scheme. An announcement will be officially made soon," a top official told Khaleej Times. "We cannot say now whether the extension is for one month or 45 days, but there is an extension."
Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE Muhammad Imran told Khaleej Times that his mission had put in an official request to the authorities to get an extension. "A lot of people still want to avail of the amnesty and we are getting queries on a daily basis. We are hopeful authorities will extend it."
Since August 1, the Bangladeshi Embassy has received 12,000 requests for new passports. "More than 8,000 passports have already been delivered. We are still awaiting around 4,500 new passports to arrive from Dhaka. People can apply for the six-month temporary visa under the amnesty scheme only after receiving the new passports. Hence, an extension will benefit many," said Imran.
Other diplomatic sources also said they were expecting an extension. "That is the indication we got. We are waiting for an official confirmation," a source said.
Thousands of illegal residents have used the amnesty scheme to either exit the country as legal residents or get a six-month job-seeker visa.
Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri said the embassy issued 656 emergency certificates and 275 short validity passports to residents since the amnesty began. "In Dubai, we issued 3,332 emergency exit passes and 1,638 short validity passports for those who wanted to make use of the six-month temporary visa."
The ambassador said around 250 free flights tickets were issued to those who could not afford it. "This is in addition to the tickets provided by community organisations and those taken by individuals themselves or by their employers."
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai had announced issuing over 25,000 new sponsor visas and renewing around 2,900 residencies during the first month of amnesty.

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