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Three-month leniency for illegals a big help, advocates say

People who are overstaying are given options to leave the country without fines beginning August 1

Gulf News

Dubai: The three-month leniency beginning August 1 that the UAE government is extending to those who have overstayed in the country is a “big relief” for them, welfare advocates said on Thursday.

The UAE Cabinet on Wednesday announced major changes in the country including in the visa and insurance system for foreign workers in the private sector, waiver of specific transit fees and overstaying fines, among others.

Specific details on the new decisions on people who are overstaying have yet to be released. Based on the information provided on Wednesday, the new facilitated process for people overstaying their visa will only be effective from August 1 to October 31, 2018.

Attorney Barney Almazar, director of Gulf Law, said the simplified and straightforward rules especially on overstaying will encourage those who are illegally staying to take advantage of this three-month period to amend their visa status.

“The new rules are very responsive to the present situation. Before, voluntary deportation cases were appealed on humanitarian grounds,” Almazar told Gulf News.

Almazar’s office on Sunday helped a mother with three kids and Dh712,400 in fine for overstaying for six years. Authorities waived their fine and reduced it to Dh16,000 on humanitarian grounds and allowed the family to fly home without a ban.

This new development will help illegals to not be paralysed by fear, he said.

“Anyone who is overstaying would desire to have a valid resident visa but the confusing rules, lack of adequate information and understanding of the laws make them fearful to act on the situation,” he added.

Rey Anggulo, a volunteer social worker in Dubai, said the move is similar to declaring amnesty.

“It’s a very good opportunity for those who are overstaying to take advantage of; it’s a big relief for them. I know most of those who are overstaying here are going through torturous nights because of the uncertainty of tomorrow. It’s a very good news for them,” Anggulo said.

Anggulo, however, sought clarification on whether or not those who are overstaying with absconding cases will be considered as well.

Rizwan Fancy, director of PR and media at the Pakistan Association Dubai and a welfare committee member, said: “It’s a very positive move that will help the community. The better part is they can leave without getting a ban. Overall, it will be a big help for them.”

Q&A

When will the new facilitated process for people overstaying take effect?

From August 1 to October 31, 2018

Who can get fine exemptions?

Those who have overstayed and are leaving the country voluntarily. (Those with police cases are not included.)

Will I get an immigration ban?

If you’re paying for your own ticket, you will not get a ban. Also, if you entered the UAE illegally and leave the country voluntarily during this period, you will not get the ‘no entry’ stamp valid for two years.

Source: UAE Cabinet

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