Amnesty seekers waiting for registration in front of the Emirates ID centre in Musaffah, Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Some large companies in the UAE have committed to employ hundreds of Indian amnesty-seekers as part of an initiative taken by the country’s embassy in Abu Dhabi, a top diplomat said here on Wednesday.

“We noticed that some of the Indian nationals [amnesty-seekers] do not want to go back home and want to look for jobs," said Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said on Wednesday.

"We have spoken to large UAE-based Indian companies and they have come forward very generously to offer employment, if skill sets [of amnesty-seekers] match [for the available vacancies],” added Suri.

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He said some employers are even ready to offer hundreds of jobs, if there are suitable candidates. 

Suitable candidates

“They are ready to conduct on-the-spot interviews. If we get more data about the Indians who are looking for alternative jobs, we will connect them with these companies,” Suri said.

The prospective jobseekers among amnesty-seekers can contact the hotline numbers and [via] email [address] of the embassy arranged for the amnesty-related matters, he said.

Sources in the recruitment industry told Gulf News on Wednesday that this will be a win-win situation as amnesty-seekers can easily get a job and companies get workers with solid local experience while saving recruitment costs and efforts [compared to hiring from abroad].

The ambassador said the number of Indian amnesty-seekers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other Northern Emirates during the first week was very low, compared to other Asian nationals. Although it is too early to draw conclusions, the number of Indians is expected to remain low, he said.

He attributed this to the effective mechanism employed by the embassy and the consulate, using Indian Community Welfare Fund [ICWF], to regularly repatriate Indians who have violated the UAE residency laws.

The officials visit jails across the UAE every week and issue emergency certificates [ECs] to those who do not have travel documents.

“Most of those people have been residency law violators [overstayers, absconders and infiltrators],” Suri said.

The Indian government set up the ICWF at the embassy and the consulate in 2009 to assist overseas Indians in times of distress and emergency in the most deserving cases on a “means-tested basis”.

The widened ambit of the fund since September 2017 enables the missions to provide all legal assistance to Indians in distress.

Amnesty-seekers waiting to process their papers at Al Shahama amnesty centre in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

During the last amnesty, around 8,000 Indians left the country. After the amnesty, a total of 4,973 Indians, who had no valid passports and visas, had left the UAE, a senior official said. M. Rajmurugan, Counsellor — Consular Affairs at the embassy, told a press conference that after the 2013 amnesty, the embassy issued 4,407 emergency certificates until December 31, 2017.

This year, the embassy issued 566 emergency certificates from January 1 to July 31.

The embassy spent around Dh1 million during the first seven months of this year to help Indians in distress.

Indian Consulate gets 1,360 amnesty enquiries

Abu Dhabi: The Indian Consulate General in Dubai has received 1,360 enquiries from Indian amnesty-seekers in the first one week of the amnesty period, a senior official said here on Wednesday.

The consulate issued 186 emergency certificates [ECs] as of Monday, said Sumathi Vasudev, acting consul-general of India, at a press conference at the Indian Embassy.

She said around 300 Indians approached Al Aweer amnesty centre in Dubai in the first week. The consulate’s help desks at Al Aweer and Sharjah are offering assistance to Indian amnesty-seekers.

The consulate has been receiving complaints from several Indians about passports being held by sponsors. Many sponsors have submitted the passports at the consulate as requested by the officials. Many cases have been taken up with the local authorities that help to get the passports from the sponsors, she said.

The consulate is considering the applications for financial assistance on a case-by-case basis, she said.


Free bus services and food for Indian amnesty-seekers

Indian amnesty-seekers visiting the amnesty centre at Al Shahama in Abu Dhabi will get free bus services and food from Thursday, Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said on Wednesday.

Some Indian companies have offered to provide food packets and this will give some relief to the people who have to wait under the scorching sun, he said.

Initially, bus services will start from Shahama to labour accommodations [in Musaffah and Baniyas] or to the city, depending on demand. Later, bus services will be arranged from certain points in the city and outskirts to Shahama, if required, Suri said.

The embassy’s help desk at the Shahama centre is functioning full time [from 8am to 8pm].

M. Rajmurugan, Counsellor — Consular Affairs at the embassy, said between 50 and 100 Indian amnesty-seekers are visiting Al Shahama centre everyday. The number is very less at the centres in Al Ain and Al Shahama. Indian volunteers are assisting the amnesty-seekers at the two centres, he said.

Indian amnesty-seekers looking for jobs can contact:

◘ Indian Embassy, mobile: 050-8995583
◘ The embassy’s email ID: indemb.uaeamnesty18@gmail.com
◘ Indian Workers Resource Centre’s toll-free number: 80046342