ICA approval waiver saves UAE expat's job
Abu Dhabi - Residents stranded outside country relieved as they prepare to return.
UAE residents stuck for months in their home countries are excited at the prospect of returning to their second home after the local authorities announced on Wednesday that prior approval was no longer required to enter the UAE.
The UAE announced that approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) was not required to enter the country but Covid-19 negative test result taken not more than 96 hours before is still needed to board a flight.
Abu Dhabi resident Zulfikhar Abdul is grateful to the UAE Government for a timely decision as he risked losing his job. The 44-year-old, who is the sole bread-winner of a seven-member family, got stuck in his native town in the Indian state of Karnataka since March.
"I have been working in the UAE since 2004. My life was well-settled until this pandemic. This is a very testing phase for me. My financial situation is not sound. It is a struggle to look after my family."
Zulfikar, an IT engineer, was given an ultimatum by his employer: "Return by August 15 or face termination."
"I tried to register in the ICA system for the past three months but had failed. My application has been getting rejected till date. Thanks to the UAE authorities, I can now return on time."
Zulfikar took the Covid-19 test on Wednesday and hopes to catch the first available flight once the result comes out negative.
'Eager to get back to work'
Shamsudeen Moolakadath manages a grocery store in the Capital and was desperate till Tuesday.
"I have never been away from work for so long. I came to Kerala in January and got stuck here. I was able to spend time with my family but I am eager to return. I appreciate the kind gesture of the government to again bless us with their care and treat us as equals."
Farhan, another expat, is relieved that his torturous annual vacation is set to end.
"It was in February that I came home on annual vacation. But soon happiness turned to sadness and then to anxiety and stress as days turned into weeks and months. A nine-member family is dependent on me. I had applied on the ICA website at least 10 times. My work permit is going to expire soon. The UAE government has saved a family."
Siddik Pattilath, who works as a storekeeper, has packed baggage to get back to work. "This is the most difficult time. I am glad the requirement of ICA approval has been made optional. I am indebted to my employer to keep my job intact. I await Covid-19 test results so that I can finally return to my second home."