Emirates to act tough on 'illegal residents'

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Dubai, Nov 14(UNI) The UAE government is going to deal toughly with emigrants who have overstayed in the Emirates even after expiry of their work visa as more than 72,000 people, who collected their outpasses to leave the country are still residing here said officials.

''People who obtained outpasses but did not leave would face tougher penalties, including jail of up to three years, fines and deportation,'' said Colonel Nasser Al Awadi Al Minhali, Director of the Abu Dhabi Naturalisation and Residency Department, at a press conference, Gulf News reported.

He said some of these people would be leaving in the coming weeks, based on factors like availability of air tickets.

As per the government statistics 341,958 illegal residents availed the amnesty by either legalising their stay or by leaving the country. While 95,000 illegal workers legalised their status, nearly 175,000 left the country.

The government acting leniently had earlier granted three month amnesty to oversatayers but even even after the amnesty period ended it was found that 72,333 people who were issued outpasses have not yet left the country. Some continue to be in the process of leaving the country.

New rules that were put to effect following the end of the three-month long amnesty period impose heavy penalties on those who failed to make use of the amnesty despite being issued with outpasses.

Colonel Mubarak Rabiya Mubarak, the Director of Fujairah Naturalisation and Residency department, said that in Fujairah alone, nearly 375 people who were issued outpasses have not yet left the country as per the latest figures.

''A total of 3,484 illegal workers applied to either leave the country or legalise their stay during the amnesty period. However, not all of them have left the country,'' said Colonel Mubarak.

Col Mubarak said that his department has been organising several awareness campaigns to educate the public about the need to stop sheltering illegal emigrants.

Our campaigns especially focused on educating farm owners in rural areas about the harmful effects of hiring illegals and also warned the public about the hefty penalties being implemented, he said.

''It was found that some illegals were involved in criminal activities such as theft or issuing bad cheques. We are coordinating with the police departments to ensure that legal action is taken against them,'' he added.

According to Dr Abdullah Ali Bin Sahoa, Director of Sharjah Naturalisation and Residency Department 15,456 people were issued outpasses from Sharjah but they did'nt move out of the Emirates.

''Among 42,819 people who applied to amend their legal status or leave using amnesty, 23,534 people legalised their status and 3,829 people left,'' said Dr Abdullah.

Major General Mohammad Salem Bin Awaida Al Khaili, Director-General of Department of Naturalisation and Residency, said ''the department would implement a strict plan to pursue and prosecute violators of the law on entry and stay of foreigners, as per the directives of Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior.'' UNI

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