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For illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Indian missions in the UAE will soon start compiling the data of expats wishing to fly home due to various reasons during the coronavirus pandemic, Gulf News can reveal.

The missions are currently awaiting more clarifications from New Delhi regarding the details that need to be collected and “some more issues” that need to be clarified, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor told Gulf News on Monday.

He did not elaborate on the clarifications sought or the expected date of beginning the registration. “We hope to start soon,” the ambassador said.

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor
Indian ambassador to UAE Pavan Kapoor Image Credit: Supplied

As reported by Gulf News, the missions on April 15 had denied seeking data of stranded Indians for repatriation citing no instruction from the Indian government in that direction.

Consul General of India Vipul at that time said the missions did not wish to create unnecessary confusion among the members of the community though they were noting the details of anyone who was contacting them on email or phone about their need to go back to India.

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Indian Consul General to Dubai Vipul Image Credit: Clint Egbert

However, the new move comes close on the heels of the Indian Embassy in Qatar beginning the registration.

“We are collecting data about people requesting repatriation to India. Please follow this link (https://forms.gle/SeB52ZJymC8VR8HN8…) and answer the questions. At this stage, the purpose is only to compile information. No decision or details yet on resumption of flights to India,” the Indian mission in Doha tweeted late on Sunday night.

“As and when a decision is taken, the Embassy will make a clear announcement. Please note that the form has to be filled separately for each individual, even if they are members of a family,” it added.

The data compilation follows reports from India which suggested that the central government was making assessment of preparations in states for bringing home stranded Indians.

During a video-conference with the state chief ministers on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said bringing back overseas Indians “has to be done keeping in mind the fact that they don’t get inconvenienced and their families are not under any risk.”

Meanwhile, the state chief ministers spoke about the need to keep a close vigil on international borders, according a government release.

Kerala, which has been making elaborate preparations to receive Malayalis stranded overseas, is the only state that has begun collecting their data, with more than 100,000 registrations received through the Norka registration website www.registernorkaroots.org in just 12 hours.

Around 45,000 registrations have been reportedly made from the UAE, which is home to more than one million Keralites.

In total, there are more than 3.4million Indians living in the UAE and several people of other Indian states also have been requesting the government to facilitate their repatriation.

Kerala has requested the central government to give priority to pregnant women, children, the elderly, those who do not have visas, stranded visitors when the latter would allow flights to resume services.

Clarifications and categories

Gulf News has learnt that the Indian missions in the UAE are seeking clarification on the method of collecting details of people from states other than Kerala that are not yet ready to receive citizens from abroad.

Also, there needs to be clarity on verifying the COVID-19 negative status of an applicant at the time of travel.

It is not clear if the Indian Embassy in the UAE will follow the similar format of registration via Google Forms announced by its counterpart in Qatar.

Indians wishing to return home from Qatar have been asked to register the reason under the following categories: medical emergencies, death of family member, stranded tourist or visitor, amnesty or deportation, loss of employment, expiry of visa, stranded student and other.

Applicants have to mention whether he or she is COVID positive or not or test not done.

Applicants also have to give an undertaking of consent for repatriation by confirming “willingness to return to India in accordance with the terms of the Embassy.”

They have to confirm their “readiness to follow all instructions given by the officials of the government of India/ Embassy of India/ aircraft crew/ medical personnel on arrival.”

Another part of the undertaking is an agreement “to undergo 14-days’ mandatory quarantine on arrival at applicants’ own expense as per the protocol framed by the government of India.”