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Illustrative image Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: More than 150,000 Indians in the UAE have registered to fly home during the coronavirus pandemic, as per the latest figures with the e-registration launched by the Indian missions here.

“As of 6pm on Saturday, we received more than 150,000 registrations,” Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul told Gulf News on Saturday.

A quarter of them want to return to their homeland after losing their jobs, he said.

“About 40 percent of the applicants are workers and 20 per cent are professionals. Overall, 25 percent have cited job-loss as the reason for leaving the country.”

About 10 percent of the applicants are visit/tourist visa holders who were stranded after the flight suspension and lockdown in India. The rest of the applicants include those with medical emergencies, pregnant women and students, Vipul said.

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Wednesday night began the e-registration for forming the database of their citizens wishing to fly home through the link

While there are Indians registering to return to various states, the Consul-General said 50 per cent of the applicants are from the state of Kerala.

Meanwhile, the government of Kerala on Saturday said the total number of registrations it received from Malayalis living across the world reached 398,000.

“The highest among them – 175,423 – are from the UAE,” said the Norka department, which had opened registration for arranging quarantine facilities in the state for returning expats.

Keralites, who comprise more than one million of the 3.4 million Indians in the UAE, are required to register with the missions also since it would help the central government to make arrangements for flight operations, the Consul General had clarified earlier.

Though the huge volume of applicants had initially seen the consulate’s site crashing many times, Vipul said the technical issues had been sorted out later.

“The site has been working fine now though it took a lot of time for it to stabilise in the initial phase due to the heavy traffic.”

Mega plan

Reports from India said the central government is preparing a mega plan for the evacuation and repatriation of Indians from the Gulf countries with the largest transport planes of the Indian Air Force and warships belonging to the Indian Navy being readied apart from commercial airlines like Air India.

Reports added that the first phase of evacuation is likely to begin with the UAE with distressed workers, especially those from the state of Kerala getting the first priority.

However, Vipul said the missions had not received any confirmation on these reports.

He said the missions have not yet received intimations from the Indian government about the mode of transporting the stranded citizens, the pricing of the tickets or how the COVID-19 test results of applicants would be assessed for their journey.

“There are high-level discussions going on regarding these things”

Vipul said the e-registration would be open “till the time the issue [of repatriating Indians wishing to return home] stablilises.”

“Since the workers might need help for registration, we are asking all our associations and sending messages to labour accommodations to help workers to fill it in.”

Those who wish to fly home for vacation should delay it as it is not considered a compelling reason to travel during the time of COVID-19 pandemic, he added.