‘An agent made me illegal,’ says amnesty-seeker

A large number of amnesty-seekers approaching Shahama centre in Abu Dhabi are absconders

Abu Dhabi: A large number of amnesty-seekers who are making a beeline to the Shahama centre in Abu Dhabi are absconders with or without passports and want to regularise their status or return home.

Many of them have also bought air tickets thinking that they would get an exit permit in a day while it takes three to five days at the Shahama centre of Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to Gulf News at the tent, Shankar Raiah, 30, from India said he wasted his air ticket, which he had booked for the next day, thinking that he would get an outpass in a day.

He said he fled from his sponsor after an agent cheated him and landed him in a job without proper food and accommodation.

Raiah said, “An unscrupulous agent made me illegal as he cheated me by bringing me here from India with lucrative job promises but provided nothing.”

He has been an illegal for the last three years. “When I came from India, the agent cheated me and for 10 days he kept me at his shared accommodation with 14 people and didn’t provide food. Once he started giving false promises, I fled his place to find some work outside and started working as a mason to earn some money.”

However, those who hired him gave salaries only on alternate months, he said. “For the last three years, I have been toiling like that, moving from one workplace to another.

“Still, I have not been given Dh5,000 in total by two companies for whom I worked. They didn’t give me a penny,” Raiah said.

They threatened him that they would report him to the police if he argued too much and police would arrest him since he was an illegal resident.

Hakeem Khan, a 23-year-old cattle breeder from Pakistan, has been living in Abu Dhabi for nine years. He was forced to run away from his sponsor as he couldn’t tolerate the workload.

After disputes with the sponsor, he ran away and stayed illegally. Financial responsibilities of the family forced him to stay back illegally to earn money taking up temporary work from different people, he said.

“I don’t want to go back as I have lots of responsibilities on me.” Khan has been living without a residence visa for the past two years. He got his passport back from the Pakistan Embassy recently.

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