Farida Begum shows the job offer she can’t accept because of her visa status. Image Credit: Abhishek Sengupta/XPRESS

Dubai: An Indian woman is in the lurch after her employer shut shop and allegedly fled with her passport.

Distraught Farida Begum, 39, said she can’t go back home to Mumbai or take up a new job here unless she coughs up over Dh29,000 in overstay fines because her employer never processed her visa.

The trained beautician, who came to the UAE in May 2014 to take up a Dh2,500 job as a cosmetic sales executive, claims she underwent the mandatory medical test to get a residence visa but her visa was never officially applied for.

Clueless

“I had no idea of this until last week when I went to the immigration where I was told that my fines start from the day my entry permit expired on June 28 last year. My visa had to be stamped on my passport before that, but it never happened. The man had kept my passport all along and whenever I asked for it, he always came up with excuses,” says Begum who finally moved the labour court earlier this year before registering a police case against the man. “Shockingly he is still at large, despite a police complaint and labour court verdict in my favour.”

“I worked for three months without salary, hoping that all was being sorted. Imagine my shock when I came to work and found he had shut shop and fled. Soon he stopped answering my phone calls,” adds Begum, who spent Dh13,000 to pay for her employment costs and faces possible arrest and deportation. “He stole my life, my future and even my present, not just my passport and money.”

Having slept rough for over a year, Begum found temporary refuge at the home of an Indian family in Bur Dubai recently. She said she has been offered a new Dh3,500 job but she can’t take it because of her visa status and would be on the road once again. “I am suffering for no fault of mine. I don’t want to go back to India as I have no one there. My parents died a long time ago. I even sold off my home before coming to the UAE,” says Begum.

All she has is a provisional passport issued by the consulate of India in Dubai that expires September 21, 2016.

 

If you wish to reach out to Farida write to editor@xpress4me.com