Amnesty seekers interact with officials for guidance on the first day of amnesty in Al Aweer Amnesty Centre in Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Philippines and Bangladesh embassies in the capital received the highest number of amnesty-seekers — around 300 — by late afternoon on the first day of the amnesty on Wednesday. The other embassies of major labour-sending countries to the UAE witnessed a comparatively less turnout.

Amnesty-seekers who have no travel document (because of lost or expired passport) have to apply for an emergency certificate from their embassy or consulate to go home, or get a new passport to stay back here for moving to a new job or apply for a six-month visa for job search. Others who have a valid passport can directly approach the UAE immigration authorities for those purposes.

Of more than 300 Filipino applicants (all women except three men), only 45 requested for emergency certificates (EC), Rowena Pangilinan Daquipil, chargé d’affaires at the Philippine Embassy, told Gulf News. “Majority of them want to stay back and avail of the six-month visa,” she said.

Around 300 people, including 12 women, visited the Bangladeshi embassy and about 40 per cent of them applied for EC and 60 per cent of them wanted to stay back here, said Mohammad Imran, the Bangladeshi Ambassador. To help those who want to stay back, the embassy will renew their passport for one year, meanwhile they can apply for a new passport that will come within 6 weeks, he said. Around 10 men who had sneaked to the UAE from Oman were also among the amnesty-seekers, he said.

The Indonesian embassy received around 50 women, mostly domestic workers, and many of them want to stay back as they already have job offers, said consul Yanuar Nasrun.

Around 25 women, mostly domestic workers, visited the Sri Lankan embassy and most of them want to stay back here, said A. Sabarullah Khan, chargé d’affaires at the embassy. Some of their passport have ex-pired. As it takes four to six weeks to get a new passport from Sri Lanka, the embassy is trying to expedite that process to help them, Khan said.

Of the 14 amnesty-seekers received by the Nepalese embassy, eight wanted to stay back and six applied for EC, which the embassy issued today, said Sagar Prasad Phuyal, chargé d’affaires at the embassy.

Only two Indian amnesty seekers applied for EC at the BLS International Centre in Abu Dhabi, the Indian Embassy’s outsourced agency for consular services. Several people visited with enquiries on amnesty at the embassy and BLS centres in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, said a senior Indian Embassy of-ficial.

Amnesty-seekers in embassies on first day

Philippines: 300
Bangladesh: 300
Indonesia: 50
Sri Lanka: 25
Nepal: 14
India: 2