Abu Dhabi: Amnesty seekers from India unable to cover their ticket fares out of the UAE can seek help from the Indian embassy, which announced on Saturday that it would provide the financial help needed to help them return home.
“We cannot create a blanket provision for amnesty seekers but we do, however, offer financial help in paying for tickets to those who approach the Indian embassy,” M.K. Lokesh, India’s ambassador to the UAE said during a meeting at the India Social and Cultural Centre.
The ambassador added that tickets will only be provided based on need. “During the 2007 amnesty period, 90 per cent of Indian expats financed their own tickets and procedures. We are offering help but only for those who deserve it, such as women, those who have been in jail, people who are bankrupt and the like,” he said.
Private organisations are also chipping in to cover the ticket fares for Indian expats and some have even budgeted for this purpose. “We have put aside Dh50,000 to help Indian amnesty seekers with their exit tickets,” said Sudesh Aggarwal, chairman of the Indian Business and Professional Council in Sharjah.
India’s minister of state for external affairs, E. Ahmad, said that the department is working with a budget provided by the Indian government. “Several amnesties have been provided in neighbouring countries, such as Oman, but even there the Indian embassy did not cover ticket fare expenses,” he said.
The Indian embassy also bears the cost of typing and related services for an emergency certificate (outpass) up to an amount of Dh40 for Indian amnesty seekers as per a Government of India decision. However, a Dh60 outpass fee must still be paid by Indians wishing to benefit from the amnesty.