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On April 8, 2020, 334 Indonesian sailors were repatriated after they were stranded in the UAE for almost a month. Image Credit:

Dubai: The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) on Sunday announced that 22,900 foreigners were repatriated through 127 land and air operations amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

It also confirmed that 27 more repatriation operations are in the pipeline.

Last week, Gulf News reported that the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said it was considering several options to restructure its cooperation and labour relations with countries refusing to receive their nationals working in the UAE private sector.

At present, the Ministry said that 5,185 foreign citizens have been returned to their countries on board the UAE's national carriers. The 14 countries cooperating with the UAE’s repatriation programme include:

  1. Canada
  2. US
  3. Colombia
  4. UK
  5. France
  6. Germany
  7. Algeria
  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  9. Ukraine
  10. Sudan
  11. Afghanistan
  12. Russia
  13. Philippines
  14. Indonesia
Repatriation of citizens, foreigners during coronavirus
Repatriation of citizens, foreigners during coronavirus Image Credit: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

The ministry also coordinated the return of 2,286 Emiratis from 43 countries, through carrying out 86 air and land repatriations. It intends to carry out 11 more operations shortly.

Breaking down the statistics, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that 9,098 were repatriated to eastern and western Asia, 8,710 to the European Union and Europe, 1,009 to Africa, and 962 travelled back to central, south and northern America, as well as to the Caribbean.

The repatriation of citizens was made after the ministry introduced a new service “Tawajudi for residents”, which was launched last March.

The new service was intended for residents with valid residencies and who are outside the country. This service aims to facilitate their safe return to the UAE in emergency situations.

Residents who are currently abroad can register for this service through MoFAIC’s website, thus facilitating communication with them in case of emergency.

The service can be accessed through the main page of the Ministry’s website, under Individuals Services, and then click on “Tawajudi for residents”.

This unprecedented step spurs from the keenness of the UAE and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to ensure the health and safety of residents on its land and facilitate their return to the country in emergency cases.