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Residents with ICA approvals wait for flights to UAE

Anjana Sankar and Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 18, 2020 | Last updated on June 18, 2020 at 02.41 pm
Residents, ICA approvals, Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, wait for flights, UAE
WAITING TO RETURN: Ismail's family is stuck in India

Time is ticking away for 18-month-old Haya Azlin Ismail who is recuperating from a brain condition, and is stuck in India since February.

The wait for UAE residents stuck in India with ICA approvals is far from over as there are no planned flights to bring them back to the UAE.

Some of them said they have even received a deadline set on ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship) approvals that state returning expats have to enter the UAE within 21 days. Speaking to a host of UAE residents who are stuck without any scheduled flights, Khaleej Times learnt about their different situations as they all yearn for their return.

Time is ticking away for 18-month-old Haya Azlin Ismail who is recuperating from a brain condition, and is stuck in India since February due to the coronavirus-triggered travel restrictions.

Haya underwent two open skull surgeries in Abu Dhabi last year after a fall, and has to continue her medical treatment and physiotherapy at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in the Capital, said her father Ismail Kaniyan Chalil, who is in Abu Dhabi. But she is unable to fly back to the UAE despite having an approval from the ICA.

Ismail said: "It is an agonising wait till normal flight service resumes between India and the UAE. My wife and three kids including Haya got the approval on June 13 and 14. We are desperate to fly back to the UAE to continue her treatment. We are spending sleepless nights worrying about how to fly them back to UAE before the expiry of the permit," said the father.

He said his family went to Kerala for a short holiday and got stranded while he returned in the end of February.

Sharing his story from Bengaluru, a Bangladeshi national stuck with his Jordanian wife and two-year-old son said that no available flights meant an unending wait for them in the unknown land.

On condition of anonymity, O.F. said: "I received the ICA approval on May 12, then the system automatically regenerated the approval on May 31 without having me to request for it. So, the ICA approval automatically got extended."

He added: "My worry is that we are foreigners in India. I am still a South Asian but my wife comes from a completely different culture. Besides, we have a child with us. I came on a three-month business trip so I got my family with me. My wife is getting depressed now with no outgoing flights from here."

Devika Mathavan, who travelled to Bangalore on March 4 for a business trip, said she misses her two-and-a-half-year-old son who is back in the UAE with her husband and his family.

She said: "I was very happy to have received the ICA approval but as everyone is aware, there are no flights from here and I am not sure when will I see my family. I just want to get back home to my son."

Echoing similar sentiments is Pratima Chattwal who has been in Punjab since March 10 along with her daughter. Pratima who had gone to visit her ailing parents three months ago, said she's holding up as an adult but her daughter is desperate to return.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com 


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