National expat body to regulate immigrants in UAE mooted

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Dubai, Oct 31 (UNI) The Chief of a top journalists' body has called for setting up a national authority to check the influx of illegal immigrants into the UAE and the legality of residence status of non-nationals.

Inspection campaigns should continue to be conducted against illegals and there was a need to keep a tab on the residence status of non-nationals, Mohammed Yousuf, head of the UAE Journalists' Association, told the Ministry of Interior and the General Police Directorate in interviews being conducted with senior journalists on the issue of amnesty.

Neville Parker, deputy editor of Khaleej Times, hailed the the Ministry's decision to grant grace period to illegal immigrants to legalise their status or leave the country without receiving any punishment or paying fines.

''The UAE government came up with an ideal and civilised manner in handling issues related to illegal residents,'' he said, adding that the move helped the local labour market getting rid of several problems caused by illegal workers, which had a negative impact on the national economy.

Mr Parker also stressed the importance of inspections to monitor the status of expatriate labour force in the country, especially on farms and in remote areas.

Habeeb Al-Sayegh, bureau chief of Al Khaleej Arabic newspaper in Abu Dhabi, said the grace period to illegals to regulate their status was a ''good gesture'' from the government.

Ali Shahdor, deputy chief editor of Al Bayan, the Dubai-based Arabic newspaper, stressed the importance of the role of media in raising awareness over the issue in curbing the problem of illegal workers.

UNI

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