Dubai: Maheya Pratap, a six-year-old Indian expatriate, has written a letter to the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship, pleading for a speedy approval of permits for her and her father Vikram to return to the UAE from India after the reopening of flights.
Maheya has been separated from her mother Amita, an entrepreneur living in Fujairah, for more than four months.
In an emotional tweet, her mother Amita posted her daughter’s touching letter so the family’s desperation and that of several hundreds of others stuck in India can reach the relevant authorities.
In the letter, Maheya pleads to the authorities to grant her the ICA approval so that she can be reunited with her mother in Fujairah.
The little girl who has been stranded in New Delhi with her father for the last four months said she misses her mother. Her distraught father Vikram said he did not know what to tell his little girl anymore. “It seems all our attempts to get back to being a family are failing.”
For the record, Vikram and his daughter both have valid UAE residency permits issued in Fujairah. And yet, their ICA applications have been rejected.
In an interview with Gulf News, from her residence in Fujairah, Amita said: “My husband lost his father in December 2019. My husband and daughter left for India on March 5 to help his mother wind up their house and return to the UAE. They were scheduled to fly back on March 20, but flight restrictions were imposed on March 19.”
Vikram said he had first applied for an ICA permit on May 19, but the application was rejected three days later. He reapplied on June 6 and received an approval nine days later. However, owing to the 21-day validity, the permit expired on July 6 as the father and daughter could not get a flight back to the UAE because no airline was operating flights back to the UAE from India.
“The validity expired on July 6 and my husband reapplied the next day. But his application was rejected on July 10. He reapplied the same day and again his application was rejected on July 13,” she said.
Similarly, Belarus expat Alena Stetsiuk said several UAE residents hailing from her country were stuck for months and had not been successful in getting ICA approvals.
“My fiancé is in the UAE. I have a job in the UAE as a teaching assistant. Like me, there are several other people stuck in Belarus who have valid UAE residency visas. All our ICA permits have been rejected in the last few days. My application, for example, has been rejected ten times. I don’t know why,” she said.
Indian expatriate Ramesh Tiwari, 48, said he was at risk of losing his job as he had been away for far too long. Hailing from Kanpur, Ramesh said he was desperately trying to return to the UAE after being stranded for more than four months.
“My last ICA rejection was on July 12,” he said.
Indian expat Prabhakaran Krishnaswamy hailing from Chennai, India, said he is in a financially distressed situation as he has not received a salary since he has been stranded in March.
“But I am still have to pay all my bills, including electricity, water, rent, etc, in the UAE. If I can return to the UAE, I can get back to work, my salary will start coming in and I will be able to take care of my expenses. Unfortunately, my ICA application has been rejected six times so far. This despite having a valid UAE residency visa. There is no criteria for rejection. All I can do is pray for the approval to come.”
Alok Bapna, managing director for Veggitech, a startup in the food security industry, said: “I have been stranded here (in India) with my family. I have an ICA approval in place for myself and my son, but that of my wife is still pending. We need to travel together. It is very frustrating as I have a confirmed flight ticket for the three of us for July 25.”
Gulf News has reached out to the ICA for comments, but is yet to get a response.