Local Press: UAE amnesty is changing the lives of people

ABU DHABI, In its Thursday editorial, the Gulf News said that for just over a week now, the general amnesty for those who are in the UAE without proper paperwork and authorisation has been underway and is scheduled to last for another ten weeks or so.

“And so far, the amnesty is proving to be a highly successful initiative, one that is making a real difference to the lives of anyone whose residency visa is inadequate or non-existent,” it added.

The English language daily said that the 90-day amnesty period affords an opportunity for all those who are living here illegally to adjust and regularise their status or to leave without facing the range of penalties that normally apply and act as a deterrence for illegals. “Clearly, anyone living in the UAE needs to have proper and correct paperwork. Through circumstance, many end up overstaying their residency visas, or come to the UAE initially on visit visas and end up working illegally.

“The reality is that authorities in the UAE need to know who is living here and the visa system ensures that those without proper paperwork cannot be exploited by unscrupulous employers who treat illegals as forced labour, paying low wages without proper regulatory, health, insurance or other oversight,” the newspaper continued.

“Certainly, in these early days of August, the statistical evidence of the success of this amnesty drive and its effective and professional implementation is positive.

“On the second day of the amnesty in Dubai alone, for example, 2,464 people applied to avail of the facility, government officials reported. In Abu Dhabi, it’s estimated that as many as 90 percent of those who applied for amnesty at a processing centre there, lacked up-to-date passports from their respective countries. Naturally, facilitating this or at least arranging for exit papers is also part of this sweeping amnesty process for the effective and professional UAE officials ensuring the success of the programme,” the Dubai-based daily added.

Aside from the statistical evidence, the Gulf News said that there are also the anecdotal stories that put a human face on how this amnesty is making a real difference to the lives of people who are caught living in the UAE without proper authorisation.

“There was the case of a 29-year-old woman who was born in the UAE, but her father had died and she couldn’t find someone to sponsor her. She came to the Al Aweer centre with her 10-year-old son. Her husband couldn’t afford to sponsor her. Now, by coming forward and, thanks to the dedicated and professional staff assisting those seeking amnesty, her situation has been regularised, her fines waived and she is free to leave,” it concluded.

Source: Emirates News Agency