Tens of thousands of people, mainly from India and Pakistan, have been stranded in the UAE for more than a month since both countries suspended international flight operations because of the coronavirus pandemic.
While European countries have already repatriated most of their citizens from the UAE, India, which has the largest expatriate workforce in the UAE, has abandoned its stranded citizens since it suspended flights on March 24.
New Delhi has so far not taken any measures to repatriate its citizens even after the UAE announced that it will consider restructuring its cooperation and labour relations with countries that refuse to address the concerns of their citizens working here.
The Indian government should review its decision and start flights to repatriate its stranded citizens from the UAE immediately. Thousands of Indians who came here on visit visas or lost jobs have been waiting in despair to be repatriated
The UAE’s options include imposing strict restrictions on hiring workers from these countries and activating the “quota” system in recruitment.
On the other hand, Pakistan is the only South Asian country, which came forward to repatriate stranded citizens from the UAE.
Islamabad has been working closely with the UAE authorities and started special flights to repatriate its citizens, especially those who came on visit visas and some who have lost their jobs.
At least 18 flights have been scheduled from April 18 to April 28, while more special flights are expected to be announced next week.
Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE Ghulam Dastgir said Pakistan appreciates the cooperation of UAE authorities in helping arrange these special flights. Pakistani missions are registering the names of those wanting to go home.
More than 40,000 have already been registered. The missions have prepared their list based on priority and emergency cases and have already started sending them home.
UAE’s Ambassador to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi has praised the cooperation between the two countries. He tweeted: “You can count on the UAE’s commitment to our friends and partners around the world in this critical time, where cooperation is needed more than ever.”
India must start repatriating its citizens stranded in the UAE, as the number of Indians waiting to go home is far higher than any other nationality.
The UAE has ensured provision of food and health care facilities to every resident in the country, but this generosity should not be exploited by any country.
The Indian government should also review its decision and start flights to repatriate its stranded citizens from the UAE immediately. Thousands of Indians who came here on visit visas or lost jobs have been waiting in despair to be repatriated.
They want to go home and are waiting for their government to help them in this difficult hour. India should learn from Pakistan. It should learn not to exploit hospitality.