High cost of living forcing foreign nationals to beg in Sharjah

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Dubai, May 13 (UNI) The high cost of living has forced many foreign nationals in the UAE to beg with the family members and relatives doing away with those considerd a burdern.

Many of those caught begging by the Sharjah Department of Naturalisation were on visit visa broadly from Iran, Syria and Jordan.

Over the last three months the department has nabbed 28 people, including 19 visit visa holders and two infiltrators. Abdul Aleem, an 86-year-old Iranian and well known at the commercial outlets and shops near Clock Tower here, says he arrived in Sharjah only to beg because his grandson and wife - with whom he lives - asked him to fend for himself.

"I came to this country a long time ago with my son to do trading.

But when my son died, I didn't have anyone except my grandson to go to. I tried doing any job I could find but no-one would hire me because I am old," Aleem says.

"I beg only to buy rice and bread. The rest of the money goes to my grandson's wife." Despite an intense campaign by the police, begging has become the only source of income for many among the poor due to the ever rising cost of living in the Emirates.

A top police official says begging is illegal in the country and that they make no distinction while cracking down on beggars - foreign or local. Interestingly, the poor, irrespective of nationality, can approach charity organisations. They don't need to beg and can be provided with food and the basic necessities needed for survival.


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