The ongoing UAE amnesty program enables those who have overstayed their visas to legalise their status or exit the country without paying any fines. After the program ends on October 31st, however, authorities are planning to enforce tougher visa rules, as reported by Gulf News.
According to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC), majority of amnesty seekers are residency law violators that entered the UAE on tourist and visit visas. Some of them have also been involved in dangerous crimes — prompting authorities to consider stringent measures.
Authorities Planning to Issue Stricter Visa Rules
Every five years, the UAE government holds an amnesty program, allowing visa violators to rectify their status. Such programs have been implemented in 2007 and 2013, respectively. Nonetheless, when this year’s program is over, violators shall face tougher rules, said Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, Director of Residency Affairs at FAIC.
Some of the steps that the authority is considering include the following:
#1 – Jobseeker Visa (3 to 6 months)
Since most of the visa violators came to the UAE looking for jobs, FAIC is planning to introduce a visa for jobseekers. These will be valid for three to six months, which Al Rashidi said provides enough time to find a job.
#2 – Security Deposit
Consequently, the authority may include a security deposit with the jobseeker visa, along with other pre-conditions. These could help ensure that if a jobseeker fails to find a job within three to six months, he/she would have to leave the country.
#3 – Flight Tickets Shouldered by Foreign Embassies
Usually, many of those who have overstayed their visas do not have enough money to pay for a flight ticket to return home. Hence, FAIC plans to ask foreign embassies to shoulder the flight ticket costs of their citizens.
#4 – Regular Inspections
After October 31, FAIC shall conduct regular inspections to seek out visa violators. Together with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), the authority will inspect workplaces, workers’ accommodations, and even farms to locate residency law violators.
#5 – Tougher Punishments
Meanwhile, the legal advisor at FAIC, Dr. Yousuf Al Sherif, stressed that there will be tougher punishments — including fines and deportation — for violators.
In addition, any sponsor or businessperson who hires an undocumented worker shall be fined AED 50,000 per worker. A repeat offence would double the fine to AED 100,000 for every worker that will be deported.
These are tougher rules, indeed! If you are one of those who have overstayed their visas in the UAE, consider applying for amnesty as soon as possible. There are two months to go before the program ends, so be sure to apply while there’s still time!