Good news for Pakistani expats in UAE

Good news for Pakistani expats in UAE
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DUBAI - All Pakistanis residing illegally in the UAE have been urged to avail of the upcoming amnesty scheme announced by the UAE government.

A notice sent out to the community from the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Consulate in Dubai said that all Pakistanis should make use of the amnesty scheme that starts from August 1 and ends in October, Khaleej Times has reported.

"All those who do not have travel documents (passports) should contact the embassy or consulate," read the notice.

A welfare officer from the Dubai consulate said that they were still awaiting clarity from the UAE government with regard to how the amnesty will be implemented. "We will offer all the guidance we can once people come to us here."The notice also advises Pakistani expatriates to get in touch with welfare sections for more information regarding clarification of the scheme.

The officer also said that at times, individuals prefer to go to the immigration directly instead of seeking help from the consulate or embassy. No previous figures of Pakistanis who had availed amnesty are currently available.

Under the scheme called 'Protect Yourself via Rectifying Your Status,' foreigners violating the residency law will be granted a three-month grace period to either leave the country voluntarily without prosecution, or rectify their legal status by paying the required fees. The visa relaxation will lift the fears of over-staying foreigners, reduce the burden on those facing hefty fines, while encouraging illegal expats to make their status legal or voluntarily depart, without incurring a ban. The scheme will end on October 31.

The general amnesty is not the first humanitarian visa initiative by the UAE government, as more than 60,000 foreigners violating the residency law benefitted from the previous 60-day visa amnesty in 2013. Three others were held in 2007, 2003 and 1996.

During the two-month amnesty in 2012-2013, the Ministry of Interior issued 61,826 exit permits to people of different nationalities.

In 2007, 341,958 illegal residents across the UAE benefitted from an amnesty, and of those, 95,259 legalised their labour status and stayed in the country.

At least 1.2 million Pakistanis reside in the UAE .

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