‘I was being tricked by agent the whole time,’ says amnesty-seeker

Another person says his family obligations prevented him from going back after failing visa medical test

Amnesty Seekers from various countries wait in the shade of ADIB building near Shahama Amnesty Center.

Abu Dhabi: He came to the UAE after being given false promises of a new job, but by then it was too late for him to return to India as he had already spent Dh4,000 of his own money to come to the country, leaving him with nothing but a mounting visit visa overstay fine.

That was one of the many stories Gulf News heard from amnesty-seekers who were looking to resolve their situation at Abu Dhabi’s Al Shahama centre as the UAE’s general amnesty entered its third week. Started on August 1, the UAE amnesty will run until October 31, allowing those who have stayed in the country illegally to clear their residency status or receive their exit permits without any penalty fees or legal action against them.

“I arrived in the UAE back in May on a one-month visit visa after an agent said he would find a job for me. I spent a total of Dh4,000 to come to the country, but after I arrived, the job opportunity I was expecting never came,” said 22-year-old Harminder Singh.

“My visit visa eventually expired after one month and so I was now overstaying in the country and incurring daily penalties. Everyday, the agent kept telling me he would find me a job, but after three months he told me there wasn’t any job for me. I was being tricked the whole time by him,” he added.

“I have come to the amnesty centre because I hope to resolve my situation, I cannot afford to pay the overstay fine and I also don’t have money to buy a ticket for a flight back to India. I have been doing different kinds of small jobs to try and get by during the last three months, but it’s been very difficult for me and I just want this ordeal to come to an end,” Singh said.

Another amnesty-seeker looking to legalise his residency in the UAE was Mohammad Ibrahim, 33, from Pakistan, who says he has been living in the country without a residence visa for three-and-a-half years after he was denied a work visa due to failing his medical clearance.

“I had a job offer with a private construction company and went for my medical check-up, but I was denied a medical clearance because of a chest issue I had. The company then told me they could not hire me and that I must go back to Pakistan, but I wasn’t able to afford to buy a plane ticket and so I stayed in the country illegally,” he said.

“I didn’t have a choice but to stay and find work to support my family in Pakistan. I have 10 people to look after including my father, mother, brother and sisters,” he added.

Ibrahim said that his medical issue was no longer a problem, and that he wants to get the clearance to stay in the country legally. “I want to live here legally, I hope that I will get the approval from the centre and after that I can start searching for a job and do things in the proper way.”

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