DUBAI - An amnesty for foreign violators including Pakistanis of the UAE residency laws will shortly be announced by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) will shortly launch, a senior official said on Monday.
Ali Mohammad Bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Chairman of FAIC, said violators will have the option to either rectify their legal status through paying nominal fees, or leave the UAE voluntarily without having to suffer any legal consequences, along with waiving any fines that they may have due to their illegal stay.
Al Shamsi said the amnesty dubbed “Protect Yourself via Rectifying Your Status” will be launched within the next few weeks.
In 2013, almost 62,000 illegal residents took advantage of the last visa amnesty, which ran for two months.
The move comes against the backdrop of a Cabinet decision on visa facilitations for visitors, residents, families and people overstaying their visa to cater for a wider segment of the society.
The Cabinet has approved a new legislative package, including a review of the current residency system to allow a two-year extension of the residency period for the dependents of their parents after finishing their university studies.
A new decision has also been approved to exempt transit passengers from all entry fees for the first 48 hours. Transit visa can be extended for up to 96 hours for a fee of only Dh50. Obtaining transit visa will be facilitated by a number of express counter at the passport-control hall across UAE airports.
The Cabinet also granted people overstaying their visa a chance to leave the country voluntarily without a "no entry" passport stamp. A new 6-month visa will be introduced for job seekers who overstayed their visa but wish to work in the country.
As for Individuals who entered the UAE illegally, they will have the chance to leave voluntarily with a "no entry" stamp for two years given that they provide a valid return ticket.
Equally, in a step aimed at simplifying the process and easing the financial burden on individuals wishing to adjust or renew their visa, they can now do so for a fee without having to leave and re-enter the country.
The chairman of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said that the Cabinet’s amnesty supports the UAE’s economic competitiveness and bolsters its position as one of the best countries in the world that provides a dignified life for those looking for social and economic stability, and one of the countries that attracts the most investments and great minds.
In January, Kuwait’s announced a general amnesty that is expected to benefit nearly 130,000 illegal residents, according to its ministry of interior.
Al Shamsi added that the UAE's policy and wise leadership have not hesitated since the inception of this young country to take into account the humanitarian aspects and noble values, so as to ensure respect for human dignity and to provide an opportunity for all those who aspire to live on this good land
Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al-Rashdi, Acting Director General of Foreigners Affairs and Ports Department, said, "We are ready to implement the decisions of the Council of Ministers and will work diligently and round the clock to accomplish all the legal and administrative procedures required by the implementation process
Al-Rashidi urged all violators, sponsors and members of the public to take advantage of the amnesty and the facilities provided by the government through this initiative—a far better than previous ones as it offers an opportunity for the offender to get a job and without having to leave the country.
He warned that missing this opportunity will expose any violation of the laws of residency in the country to legal consequences including prosecution and fines.
Al Rashidi said a toll free telephone number will be set up later to answer inquiries from members of the public about the amnesty and how to benefit from its provisions and the time granted to the violators.