UAE cracks down on illegal overstayers after amnesty

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Dubai, Nov 10 (UNI) UAE authorities have started cracking down on illegal overstayers after the recent amnesty announced under which more than 2,86,000 illegal expatriate workers have either legalised their status or left the country, a top labour ministry official said in Abu Dhabi.

Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi, Assistant Under-Secretary of the MoL, said in a statement that the amnesty period (June 3 to September 2) given to enable the illegals either to legalise their status or leave the country without paying any fine has proved to be a good decision to streamline the labour market and to protect the rights of the workers.

He said more than 2,86,000 of 3,00,000-3,50,000 illegals in the country approached the MoL or the Naturalisation and Residency Departments (NRDs) to benefit from the amnesty period.

''The authorities concerned such as the Ministry of Interior (MoI), municipalities, free zones and the chambers of commerce across the country should invest the amnesty results by coordinating efforts to weed out the phenomenon of illegal workers from the UAE,'' WAM, the official news agency, quoted Al Zahmi as saying.

''The authorities have to draw up policies and mechanisms to monitor the labour force entering the country in the future. Also, the officials should form a team and set a timetable for inspection campaigns to target violating firms,'' he added.

Police officers must accompany the MoL teams during the inspection campaigns to protect the inspectors who face dangers, the official said.

He explained that bad practices of some companies are creating illegal workers in the country. For instance, some construction companies recruit a larger number of workers than they need, citing the size of work, which leads to the accumulation of foreign workforce in the country.

Some shop owners conceal illegal workers so that they can employ them against lower salaries. Some free zones also recruit workers and then allow them to work with other employers. Al Zahmi urged the employers to abide by the laws by not recruiting or sheltering illegals or infiltrators.

UNI

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