Dubai: A desperate Indian worker who claims he cannot get an outpass is roaming the streets of Bur Dubai in the hope that he will be arrested and then deported.
Echoing what could well be the plight of several illegal workers like him in the UAE, K. Surendran, a former helper with a cafeteria in Dubai, said he had been overstaying in the country for nearly five years.
Dreaming of making it big here, Surendran, who hails from Kerala in India, said he had taken a loan of Rs100,000 (Dh7,928) to come to Dubai through a friend in 2005, who helped him land the cafeteria job.
However, he said he lost his job a year later as his papers were not in order. He said he only had a copy of his passport with him and the original went missing when he lost contact with his friend who had kept it [passport] with him. The visit visa on which he had come had expired, he added.
He said he wanted to leave the country but when he managed to get odd jobs that did not demand his papers, he stayed on so that he could clear his loan of Rs100,000 back in India.
"I could repay all my debts with the money I earned," said the 42-year-old who has two children.
Five years down the line, when the odd jobs began to dry up, Surendran said he approached the Indian Consulate for an outpass that would allow him to travel home without a passport, but he was directed to the immigration authorities at Al Aweer to get their clearance.
He said when he went to the immigration office and submitted his passport number there, to his shock he was informed that someone else had travelled to India on the same passport.
Nowhere to go
He was then directed to the immigration authorities at Abu Dhabi, who confirmed the same, he claimed, adding that he was not given an outpass.
"Where shall I go?" he asked. Homeless, jobless and without his papers, he is now hoping that the police will come checking and arrest him. "I will serve whatever prison term I need to — after which I will be deported," he said.
In a statement, the Consulate General of India said, "Local authorities have been requesting us that Emergency Certificate (EC) applicants should first check with local immigration if their passports have been deposited by employers etc, before applying for the EC. We are following this practice…
"In this case, the applicant went to Dubai Immigration [General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs] but was referred to Abu Dhabi Immigration, which shows that his UAE visa was originally issued from Abu Dhabi and his case will be processed there. The argument that his passport was lying with his friend with whom he lost contact and did not make any efforts to retrieve it for the last five years will not hold much ground as in such a case, he should have immediately contacted the [Indian] Embassy or this Consulate ....
"Passport is the property of the Government of India and its holder should be careful about its safekeeping. In this case it seems that the passport has already been misused, which can have national security implications. Hence, he should be advised to immediately contact the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, and request help in getting a printout from Abu Dhabi Immigration about his entry/exit, sponsor details etc."
"At the same time, the Embassy of India will verify his details from the passport photocopy, which is in his possession, and other documents, if required. Once his identity is established and EC is issued to him, Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, will again have to intervene to explain to Abu Dhabi authorities as to the fact that someone else has used his passport to exit UAE," it added.
An immediate comment was not available from immigration authorities.