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UAE extends amnesty for visa violators

UAE extends amnesty for visa violators

The period was due to end on Wednesday

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Nationality (FIDA) said on Tuesday it would extend an amnesty allowing illegal workers and residents in the country to correct their status.

The campaign, which was originally due to end on Wednesday, will now be extended until December 1 to allow more people to settle their cases.

Authorities say the amnesty is the first to allow violators, including those reported for absconding, to leave the country without any charges or fines. Those wishing to stay can change their status for a small fee, while people who entered the country illegally can leave with a two-year ban from returning.

Applicants can also sign up for a new jobseekers visa allowing them to stay in the country for six months.

Nine amnesty centres, inclduing those at the Shahama Centre in Abu Dhabi and the Al Aweer Centre in Dubai and others next to the Residence and Foreigners’ Residence buildings in Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Abu Dhabi Emirate, will remain open until the new deadline.

Director general of foreign affairs at the Federal Authority for Identity and Nationality, brigadier Saeed Rakan Al-Rashdi, called on remaining violators to take advantage of the extension.

He said the additional time was in part due to technical issues with the amnesty system initially and delays to travel document issuance and other procedures arranged by countries’ embassies for their nationals.

“The commission therefore decided to take into account their circumstances and alleviate them and give them the opportunity and time to be able to change their situation,” WAM said.

Al-Rashdi warned the authority would take action against visa violators as soon as the amnesty period ends, with punishments including fines and a jail sentence followed by deportation.

Among the benefits of the scheme during the opening weeks was a family based in Ajman, which had Dhs3m ($816,735) of overstay fines cleared.

Read: UAE-based family cleared of Dhs3m of fines under amnesty

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