Dubai: Amnesty seekers have complained that the toll free number 8005111 provided by the Ministry of Interior for illegal residents during the amnesty is unhelpful.
When the amnesty began on December 4, officials from the Ministry announced several times that all questions and inquiries by illegal residents would have quick, clear and valid answers if they called 8005111.
However, illegal residents who wished to apply for amnesty say they cannot find any means of communication with the centres other than visiting them in person. The two-month amnesty period ends on February 3.
A number of illegal residents said the lack of communication with the amnesty centres was one of the reasons they failed to apply for amnesty.
“Amnesty is drawing to its end and I want to raise the point that when we call the amnesty centre’s toll free number, I never got correct and useful information from them. The person on the phone either will tell you to visit the deportation centre in person or gives unreliable information,” said Mazen from Pakistan.
Mazen said the number gives information only about Dubai residency and visit visas.
“When the amnesty was announced, we read in media reports that a helpline would respond to all inquires related to amnesty from all over the country but it is not true at all,” he said.
Fadila, an illegal housemaid from Bangladesh, said she was afraid to go to the amnesty centre in person.
“I tried to contact the helpline number given to me by a friend to ask about amnesty but the operator told me that he did not have any idea about amnesty in other emirates or even in Dubai,” she said.
“The officer only told me to go Al Aweer deportation jail,” she said.
Another amnesty seeker, Belal from Afghanistan, said he came to Dubai on visit visa and was not able to meet the sponsor who brought him.
“I’m jobless and I have no money to eat so how I will pay for the transportation to visit the amnesty centre in Al Aweer or anywhere else just to get information,” he said.
Belal said he just wanted to know what documents he needed and how and where he should apply.
Gulf News also dialled the toll free number to inquire about amnesty in any of the emirates and the officer who answered the phone said: “I’m sorry, we have no information about amnesty in any other Emirate and you can contact the residency department in those emirates to check. He also said to contact the Al Aweer deportation centre or visit them in Al Aweer and they will provide any information needed."
When asked about the number 8005111 assigned by the Ministry of Interior to answer amnesty inquiries, the officer politely said: “I’m sorry I have no idea about that.”