Dubai: Thousands of illegal immigrants are expected to flock to centres across the country as the 60-day visa amnesty begins on Tuesday.
Violators of the country’s residency law can visit a centre in each Emirate to start the departure process — which will see them leave the country with no ban or overstaying fines to pay.
General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs (GDRFA) officials confirmed illegal residents will be granted exit permits to leave the country — with all fines waived — upon visiting one of the 10 centres across the country.
Those applying for amnesty will have fingerprints and iris scans taken to ensure there are no pending criminal cases against them.
“The amnesty will start today and will last for 60 days, giving time for all illegal residents and visitors to leave the country without penalties,” officials said.
Last month Gulf News reported how Major General Nasser Awadi Al Menhali, assistant undersecretary for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, announced the amnesty, detailing how illegal residents will be allowed to leave the UAE without penalty.
As many as 342,000 illegal immigrants took advantage of the last amnesty declared in 2007.
Around 300,000 illegal immigrants left the country under the second amnesty which ran between January and April, 2002.
In 1996, about 200,000 illegal residents left the country under a six-month amnesty.
Residency law violators should take their passport and an air ticket to their home country to any of the 10 amnesty centres across the emirates.
Officials have emphasised there is no need to approach the residency department where the original residency or visit visa was issued.
Those without passports — if they have been lost or stolen — will receive assistance from the residency department to obtain out-passes from their consulates or embassies.
Anyone with outstanding absconding cases against them, where their passport is held at a residency department, will be given back their passport in order to leave the country.
In cases where violators cannot afford an air ticket, they will receive support either in the form of liquidating their bank guarantee deposited at the Ministry of Labour, or where no guarantee exists, they will be helped by the authority on humanitarian grounds.
An official added: “For those violators who wish to stay in the UAE but who have allowed their residency to expire, overstaying fines must be paid in order to legalise residency status.”
In Dubai, those wishing to take advantage of the amnesty grace period can approach the Directorate to follow up on violations and foreigner affairs in Al Aweer from 8am until 8pm, except during holidays.
Colonel Mohammad Alwan, director of the GDRFA in Ajman, told Gulf News illegal residents in Ajman can approach the centre in Al Jurf area — close to the Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs where a special tent has been set up.
Brigadier Dr Abdullah Sahoo, director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Sharjah, said: “In order for illegal immigrants to have their exit permits issued, they can approach the Sharjah residency department headquarters in Al Jawazat Area.
“They need to bring an air ticket, passport or out-passes from their consulates.”
People wishing to take advantage of the amnesty can call the toll free number, 800 5111, for enquiries and information on the required documents and how to apply.