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Two-day break for Indian amnesty seekers applying for outpass

Embassy to bear Dh 40 cost of filling form, etc

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: After a two-day break, Indian amnesty seekers applying for an emergency certificate (outpass) from Indian diplomatic missions can start submitting applications from Wednesday.

BLS International, the agency handling the applications of amnesty seekers on behalf of the Indian diplomatic missions in the UAE, suspended the application process on Monday due to a new fee structure with certain discounts introduced by the Government of India. A BLS notice said the application process would be resumed on Wednesday as its centres will be closed on Tuesday for Christmas.

The amnesty seekers who do not have passports are applying for emergency certificates from their diplomatic missions.

The Indian Ambassador said the outpass application process was suspended for a day to upgrade the software following the introduction of a new fee structure.

As Gulf News reported on Sunday, the Indian Embassy in the UAE decided to bear the cost of typing and related services of outpasss up to an amount of Dh40 for Indian amnesty seekers as per a Government of India decision on Sunday. The Embassy will reimburse BLS International Dh40 per applicant towards photo, form filling, service fee, etc, that are being paid by the outpass applicants. The money will be reimbursed from the Indian Community Welfare Fund that is sourced by a Dh10 levy on each consular service at the Indian diplomatic missions in the UAE. The embassy had exempted the outpass applicants from paying the levy towards the fund.

However, the Government of India has not made any decision on waiving the outpass fee [Dh60] as recommended by the Indian Embassy in the UAE, M.K. Lokesh, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said.

The amnesty seekers and community organisations had protested against the exorbitant fee for emergency certificates and service charges imposed on amnesty seekers.

India recently increased the fee for outpass from Dh20 to Dh60 and it was not waived even after the UAE Government declared an amnesty.

The UAE Government waived all fines for residency law violators and exit permits are issued free of cost.

Meanwhile the southern Indian state of Kerala announced that it would refund Dh69 to the amnesty seekers from the state. The Dh69 includes the Dh60 fee for the outpass and a Dh9 service fee charged by the agency. However If the amnesty seeker takes the services of form filling, photo, courier service and SMS alert service he or she has to pay about Dh60 extra of which Dh40 will be borne by the embassy.

Other Asian embassies such as those of Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka do not charge a fee for outpasses and Bangladesh charges just Dh20. The Pakistan Embassy is providing typing, photographs and related services free of cost.