Mohammad Imran Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Around 3,000 renewed passports of amnesty seekers are ready for collection at the Bangladeshi Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai, a top diplomat has told Gulf News.

“We have received passports of those who applied until August 20. Some of them have already collected their passports. Others have to come forward at the earliest,” said Mohammad Imran, the Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE.

Around 8,000 amnesty seekers have applied for passports at the embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate in Dubai as of Tuesday, since the visa amnesty started on August 1, he said.

Bangladeshi passports are printed at Dhaka, the country’s capital and an applicant in Abu Dhabi gets the renewed passport within four to six weeks. However, the Bangladeshi government is giving priority to applicants from the UAE because of the ongoing visa amnesty and passports are delivered within four weeks now, the envoy said.

The embassy started receiving the renewed passports in batches from the first week of this month. “Now, we receive almost 200-300 renewed passports a day,” Imran said.

The applicants with delivery slip number up to 423,000 in Abu Dhabi and up to 640,000 in Dubai are ready for collection, Imran said. Dubai

As Gulf News reported earlier, most of the Bangladeshi amnesty seekers sought to renew their passports to continue living in the UAE.

Half of them are absconders whose passports were held by their sponsors, and others have expired/lost passports.

The ambassador urged the amnesty seekers to collect the passports at once and apply for an employment visa [those who already got a job] or a six-month visa for job search immediately.

“Since the UAE government has granted this golden opportunity to regularise their status easily, everyone should first try to find a job or apply for a six-month visa. They may consider going back home if these attempts [to regularise the status] do not work,” Imran explained.

He urged them to report to the embassy, if they find any technical difficulties in getting a job visa or six-month visa.

The envoy said the number of amnesty seekers approaching the embassy has gone down these days. “Around 300 people used to come a day [since August 1]. However, the number has gone down to around 200 a day since last week.”

He said the feedback received from the amnesty centre in Al Shahama also suggested a similar downward trend.

Amnesty seekers who do not have a valid passport have to first get a travel document (emergency certificate or EC) from the embassy to go back home, or obtain a new passport to get a six-month visa or new job visa.

People who entered the UAE on a visa, but later became undocumented, and now want to leave the country, can also visit their embassies in Abu Dhabi, provided they have any ID document issued by the UAE authorities.

All others are to approach the amnesty centre or Tasheel centres to process their applications in Abu Dhabi.

Figures

3,000 passports ready for collection

8,000 amnesty seekers applied for passports

4-6 weeks: time taken for passport renewal

4 weeks: reduced time for amnesty seekers’ passport renewal