Indian social groups launch help desk for amnesty seekers in UAE

Indian social groups launch help desk for amnesty seekers in UAE
Indian social groups launch help desk for amnesty seekers in UAE

Final details on the help to be extended by the consulate will be announced once FAIC has provided all protocols in the matter.

A large number of social workers and Indian community associations have come forward to help expatriates who are seeking visa amnesty in the UAE. Indian associations in Sharjah, Ajman, as well as the Consulate General of India in Dubai have promised to assist amnesty seekers, especially families, to return home.

The social workers and community leaders extended their support to help overstay residents, after the UAE government announced the programme 'Protect Yourself via Rectifying Your Status' late last month. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) said amnesty period will begin on August 1 and continue till October this year.

According to Consul General of India to Dubai Vipul, a preliminary discussion was held at the monthly open house meeting that took place at the Indian Consulate premises on Friday. Final details on the help to be extended by the consulate will be announced once FAIC has provided all protocols in the matter.

The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), for instance, has launched a 24/7 hotline and help desk for residents seeking visa amnesty. Anwar Naha, president of the centre, has assured the KMCC staff will be available at the venue round-the-clock. "We have already received up to 12 registrations so far, of which six are families."

The centre is extending support to people who face issues such as expired visa and passport, visit visa expiry, women who delivered babies and didn't issue their passports, etc. People facing such issues can approach the KMCC for financial and legal advice and proceed for application of amnesty.

Resolve financial cases first

However, those who are currently facing financial misdemeanour cases or court cases of any kind need to resolve the cases before leaving.

"Currently, we are accepting applications and registering their details. The most important thing we look for is proper documentation. In many cases, people do not even have identification," he said. 

He said: "People need to come forward with passport copy, visa copy, and have as many documents as possible. Once they register and submit these documents, our lawyers will study these papers and propose the best solution for them." 

Businessman and social worker Nazir Nandi said: "I am working with about 25 families and over 100 individuals who have been stranded here for several years. At this stage, we are spreading awareness and collecting details of those who need help. Once that is done, we will work closely with the Consulate General of India and Dubai Police towards this cause."

Nandi is also working with volunteers and contributors to sponsor flight tickets for amnesty seekers. He said: "Each case needs to be examined individually. Some people would like to return, some even wish to stay."

Girish Pant, another social worker and volunteer with the Consulate General of India, said: "There are several amnesty seekers who I'm currently working with, both individuals as well as families. Overstay and lack of documentation cases are easier to sort out, however, for people with court cases, the situation becomes more complicated. Some of them have to repay court settlements as small as Dh5,000."

"Families and bachelors have already begun coming forwarded with their grievances," confirmed Naha. He added: "We are also differentiating the cases as per their age. Those who wish to return to the UAE are being provided with such facilities, and residents going to deportation and repatriation are also being helped."

Naha said the numbers of the overstay residents are yet to be examined, however, the centre has already begun helping men, women and families who wish to return home. "We are hoping things will become a lot clearer by mid-July."

Priority for these people

The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) will give priority to people who face issues such as

>Expired visa and passport

> Those who arrived on visit visas and didn't return

>Women who didn't take passports for their babies

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