Dubai unveils ‘one-stop’ amnesty centre

Al Aweer facility has capacity for 3,000 people and will be open from 8am to 8pm from August 1

Dubai: The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) has set up a ‘one-stop’ shop under two large tents to assist people who have overstayed their visas but wish to regularise their residency status during the amnesty from August 1, officials said on Sunday.

The centre will have representatives of Dubai Police, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation besides GDRFA officers to handle amnesty-seekers from August 1 to October 31.

The Al Aweer centre will handle cases of undocumented residents who wish to leave the country without fines and a ban. They can clear the absconding cases against them, if any, and get exemption from overstaying fines at this centre.

Those seeking to regularise their visa status during the amnesty period, however, can also approach the Amer centres of the GDRFA. Currently, there are 43 Amer centres located in different areas in Dubai. These centres will provide all services, including cancellation of fines for violations related to residency, Emirates ID and labour permit. Applicants can clear absconding cases against them, if any, and can also renew expired visas or stamp new visas at these centres.

Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of GDRFA, urged visa violators to avail themselves of the chance and modify their status for a new start in their lives.

“It is a gift from the UAE government and a great humanitarian gesture for the people who are overstaying in the country. Such people are not criminals but some of them sometimes face the difficult situations which forced them to stay illegally. We are giving them a chance to make a new start in their lives,” he said while addressing a press confernece on Sunday at the Violators and Foreigners Follow-up Section in Al Aweer.

Two tents for men and women, with a capacity of 3,000 people, have been set up to welcome amnesty seekers from 8am to 8pm everyday except public holidays. A total of 40 counters with officers speaking different languages will be ready to facilitate overstayers.

There will be a temporary clinic close to the tents with civil defence teams on call for any emergencies.

“Some overstayers fear heavy fines but this amnesty will erase the fines and encourage illegal expats to make their status legal or voluntarily depart without getting a ban,” Maj Gen Al Merri said.

Meanwhile, foreign missions in the UAE will be provided facilities to set up counters at the amnesty centre to help the amnesty seekers exit the country.

Brigadier Khalaf Ahmad Al Gaith, assistant director-general, Violators and Foreigners Follow-up Section in Dubai, said: “We will receive everybody in the centre and will examine each case and help amnesty seekers. We have a humanitarian section for help for women with children wihout documents as well. We will give an exit permit to an amnesty-seeker after compelting necessary documentations. The outpass will be valid for valid for 21 days only.”

In 2013, about 61,826 foreigners benefited from the two-month amnesty in the UAE while, in 2007, about 341,826 illegal residents benefited from the amnesty.

“I don’t expect the number this time will be more than the number of people on last amnesty. It is either the same number or less,” Maj Gen Al Merri added.

People availing of the amnesty stand to have penalties exempted and absconding cases cleared.

The fee for individuals applying for closing an absconding case is Dh121, while for private companies it is Dh521, and for the government sector Dh71.

Exit permit fees amount to Dh221.

In case there is no passport, travel document shall be issued from the consulate after submitting a certificate stating the loss of the passport ‘to whom it may concern’.

Violators must provide the ticket and the travel date must be booked after 10 days of visiting the amnesty centre.

Amnesty-seekers will be allowed to leave without inviting a ban.

In case the amnesty-seeker wishes to rectify his status inside the country and the visa is issued from another emirate and he has an absconding notification, he should contact the same emirate to close the absconding case.

Temporary residency for six months shall be issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.


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