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Syrian without visa for two years hopes to rectify family’s residency status

After he lost job, he and wife couldn’t return home because of war and amnesty gives them a new lease of life

Image Credit: Anwar Ahmad/Gulf News
Jalal Al Deen Omar
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Several families from war-torn countries, including Syria and Yemen, have been flocking to the Shahama centre to rectify their residency status as amnesty permits one-year visa to them.

At the Shahama amnesty centre in Abu Dhabi, Gulf News spoke with a Syrian man who lost his job but couldn’t return home due to the war.

Jalaluddin Omar from Syria, who has been living in Abu Dhabi for 14 years, said, “It’s been almost two years since I stopped having a residence visa after I lost my job. My visa was cancelled but I couldn’t go back home due to the war.”

He turned up at the centre along with his wife, both in their 50s. They applied for one-year residence visas as offered under the amnesty terms.

“Because of the war, I couldn’t travel back home and stayed back after my visa was cancelled. Now I want to regularise our status to stay in the country legally,” Omar said who didn’t want to divulge how he lost his job.

Since he doesn’t have the residence visa, Omar said, he has been facing problems in accessing local government facilities like Tawtheeq (to register tenancy contract) and Mawaqif (parking) and he had to live on the mercy of his relatives and friends.

Residents who have escaped war in Syria and taken refuge in the UAE or lost their jobs in the country can stay in the emirates as per the resolution adopted by the UAE Cabinet that permits them to regularise their status with a one-year residence visa.

The resolution states that citizens of affected countries will be granted an extendable one-year permit, “regardless of their condition of residence” from August 1 to October 31 this year. They will also be exempt from any imposed fines.

Omar’s wife expressed her happiness and satisfaction when officials at the Shahama centre explained how they can regularise their status during amnesty.

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