Abu Dhabi: Indonesian amnesty-seekers, who want to stay back in the UAE, can temporarily extend their expired passports without paying any fee, an Indonesian diplomat told Gulf News.
“The Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai are temporality extending amnesty-seekers’ expired passports free of charge until June, 2019 to help them apply for a six-month visa and search for a new job,” said Yanuar Nasrun, consul at the embassy in Abu Dhabi.
The missions are offering this reprieve to encourage Indonesians to avail of the UAE Government’s visa amnesty and 6-month visa for job search, which will help them find new opportunities and restart their life. “They can get the passport extended within two days, whereas regular passport renewal takes four days,” he said.
Around a thousand Indonesian amnesty seekers approached the embassy as of Tuesday [since August 1] and more than 60 per cent of them want to continue live in the UAE, Nasrun said. Most of them are housemaids who overstayed their visa; some of them have already found a new sponsor and others are ready to apply for the six-month visa, he said.
Amnesty-seekers who do not have a valid passport have to first get an emergency certificate 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, can also visit their embassies in Abu Dhabi, provided they have any ID document issued by the UAE authorities and want to leave the country.
All other amnesty-seekers have to approach the Amnesty Centre or Tasheel centres to process their applications in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, Indonesian embassy has extended the working hours till 8pm for amnesty-seekers, beyond its regular working time of 9am to 5pm. Though most of the amnesty-seekers visit the embassy in the mornings; still the staff wait for some people who turn up late evening, the consul said.
Most of the Indonesian amnesty-seekers are women; only three or four are men. Of around 102,000 (one hundred and two thousand) Indonesians in the UAE, many of them are housemaids and 50 per cent of them are in Abu Dhabi, the consul said.
The embassy received around 1,500 passports of Indonesians from the UAE authorities just before the amnesty started. The sponsors submit passports of absconding employees with the UAE authorities who hand them over to the respective embassies.
“We have not published the details of the passports due to privacy and security reasons. People [absconders who do not have passports] have to check with us,” Nasrun said.
The embassy renews the passport within four working days as booklets are printed in Abu Dhabi. The fee for 24-page passport is Dh35 and a 48-page booklet costs Dh100, he said.
The embassy is trying to spread the message about the visa amnesty among maximum number of community members, Nasrun said.
■ 1,000 Indonesian amnesty seekers approach embassy as of Tuesday
■ 60% want to stay back
■ 102,000 Indonesians in UAE
■ 50% of Indonesians in Abu Dhabi
■ 1,500 passports received from UAE authorities in June