Faisal Alam with his wife Shamma and three children Osama, Hussain and Rehan, at Al Aweer Immigration. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: A family who has been living here illegally for more than ten years is dreaming of going back home after applying for the amnesty granted by the Ministry of Interior.

However, their dream cannot be realised as they cannot afford to buy air tickets back to Pakistan. All the family members have already surrendered to take advantage of the amnesty and have completed the paperwork but a lack of funds is hampering their departure.

“We have been to our consulate and also contacted some community groups but no one has provided us with any help,” said Faisal Alam, the head of the family.

Alam, a father of three young boys, came from Karachi to work here in 1994. He said that after he worked for three years for a company in Jebel Ali the company closed down leaving all the workers in a dilemma.

“I got married to my wife Shama Khan, an Indian, and we had our first child Usama in 1998,” he said.

He said since 1998 he had been staying here without a residence visa.

He was on a visit visa and used to renew it by going to Kish Island but since 2000 he has been illegal, he said.

Alam said he used to do odd jobs to support his family.

“My second child, Hussain, was born in Dubai in 2003 and my little boy Farhan was born in 2009 while my elder son was born in Latifa Hospital,” he said.

Alam said that his children were issued birth certificates but never had residency visas.

Alam said that his wife worked for some time for a company in Dubai but this company also closed down.

His wife was born and brought up here.

“My elder son went to school but now for the past four years my children have not been attending school,” he said.

Alam said that it broke his heart to see his children suffer for no reason.

“We have been stuck here for more than ten years. I have not seen my country and my family back home since I came here,” he said.

Alam said that he wanted to go back home but he was afraid of going to jail.

“I was afraid to be jailed if I decided to go home,” he said.

Alam said that now he was able to take advantage of the amnesty granted by the authorities who have waived his fines.

His wife said that she had wanted a good life for her children but now she cannot afford even food for them.

“We are borrowing money from people and some other friends are helping us but we are tired and we want to go home,” she said.

“Our children’s passports were renewed by the Pakistani consulate for one month only in order to leave and now 15 days have passed,” Alam said.

“We have to pay outstanding rent for our home which is Dh1,800 which we cannot afford too,” he added.