A general view of the Amnesty Seekers at the Tent of Shahama Amnesty Center at the Inspection and Follow Up section of the Immigration in Shahama, around 65 Kilometers from Abu Dhabi city on the 7th day of the Amnesty yesterday (on Tuesday). Photo: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News Archive Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: The four-month long visa amnesty granted for residency-law violators will end on Friday without any further extension, an official from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) told Gulf News on Thursday.

From December 1, the authority will launch nationwide inspection campaigns to nab undocumented residents who will face stringent action as per the existing laws. Those caught have to pay all the accumulated fines in full, said the official who did not want to be named.

The authority initially announced the amnesty for three months from August 1 to October 31 and extended it for a month until November 30 to give a chance for more residency law violators to use the opportunity to rectify their status to stay back in the country or leave without paying any fines or facing prosecutions for their unauthorised stay.

Thousands of amnesty seekers across the country benefited from the initiative as the authority opened amnesty centres in all the emirates to welcome them and process their applications.

During the amnesty period, the authority exerted all efforts to spread the message through various media and social media channels, requesting undocumented residents in the country to avail of the amnesty.

People still living in the UAE without proper documents will be liable to pay fines for various violations.

The inspections will be gradually intensified to catch all violators as the government aims to make the “emirates free from violators,” the official said.

The authority will soon organise a media briefing to share details of the amnesty, including statistics of the people who availed of the reprieve.

Still waiting for passport

Most of the embassies of labour-sending countries said they were still compiling the data of amnesty-seekers who approached them for passport renewal and emergency certificates during the past four months.

However, Bangladeshi missions said, more than 500 amnesty-seekers who applied for passport renewal in November have not received their passports as of Thursday.

“We have requested the UAE authorities to consider their case as a special matter since the amnesty is ending [on Friday],” said Mohammad Imran, the Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE.

“We will prepare their list and submit it to the UAE authorities for the special consideration [therefore, they can still apply for six-month visa after November 30,” he said.

The Bangladeshi missions received some renewed passports of amnesty-seekers on Thursday by courier from Dhaka in Bangladesh, where the passports are printed. “The mission will be open on Friday and I urge all amnesty-seekers to collect their passports and check with Tasheel centres whether they can apply for the six-month visa to stay back in the UAE,” Imran said.

He said more than 20,000 amnesty-seekers approached the Bangladeshi mission in the UAE during the amnesty period. “Around 15,000 of them applied for passport renewal to seek the six-month visa for jobseekers and 5,000 people applied for emergency certificates (ECs) to leave the country,” he said.

Those who applied for the ECs have already collected them, he said.

Officials at the Philippine and Nepalese embassies said the amnesty-seekers who had approached the missions have already collected their documents. They said they are compiling data of the number of passports renewed and the ECs issued for amnesty-seekers.