Indian minister vows to resolve issues faced by expats in UAE

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on November 30, 2020


Community leaders said a wide range of issues were discussed with the minister.

As Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar met with community leaders in Dubai, he promised to study and hopefully resolve some common issues faced by expats, particularly those who are still reportedly stranded back in India.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, community leaders said a wide range of issues were discussed with the minister, including those involving expats who are yet to receive their pre-travel approval to return to the UAE.

“A number of expats who still have jobs in the UAE are unable to come back. We are hoping they will be given top priority when pre-travel approvals are no longer required or at least their visas will be kept valid until they return to the UAE,” said EP Johnson, president of Sharjah Indian Association.

Following his two-day visit to Abu Dhabi on November 25-26, Jaishankar departed for Seychelles on November 27. On his return journey to India, he had a layover in Dubai, wherein he inspected the construction progress of the Indian pavilion at the Expo 2020 site and attended a virtual meeting with community leaders.

Free repatriation of remains requested

The association president also requested that provisions be created to waive the fees for the repatriation of remains from the UAE. Jaishankar responded by saying the matter shall be discussed with Air India.

“While it is a company’s responsibility to arrange the repatriation, it is not being done in most cases citing financial issues,” said Johnson.

Puttur Rahman, president of the UAE Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre’s (KMCC) National Committee, thanked the minister for facilitating the launch of chartered flights from UAE to India to repatriate Indians in distress.

“KMCC alone was able to repatriate over 35,000 distressed Indians via chartered flights,” Rahman said.

Rahman also put forward an appeal to launch NEET exam centres in the UAE. “He said governing body for the exams is an independent one, but he assured us that he will alert the authorities to look into the matter.”

The KMCC head then requested that some financial support be given to the families of expats who died of Covid-19.

“According to the information made available to us, some 175 Indians have died in the UAE because of COVID-19 this year. Out of which, at least 40 families are financially distressed,” said Rahman.

“We also put forward a request with the minister to provide returning NRIs with gainful employment back home,” he added. “Dr Jaishankar said he would discuss this matter with the state departments concerned.”

On Sunday, Dr Jaishankar met His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and discussed with him the prospects for economic cooperation between the UAE and India in the post-Covid-19 era.

The minister also held talks with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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