By Andy Sambidge
But Emirates Identity Authority says it has no plans to extend the Dec. 31 deadline.
Only about 10 percent of expat professionals have so far registered for the new identity card but Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) officials have no plans to extend the Dec. 31 deadline.
Just 60,000 of the estimated 600,000 white collar expat workers have registered for the new card, Thamer Rashid Al-Qasimi, planning director and project management director at EIDA said in comments published on Tuesday.
He added that the organisation could not extend the deadline and reiterated that people who don't register before the end of 2008 will face having government-run services withheld.
"We cannot extend the deadline or say that non- registration before deadline will not attract any problems," Al-Qasimi told UAE daily Gulf News.
He said that although EIDA does not have the authority to take punitive measures like freezing bank accounts of non-registered residents, government or central bank can take any such measures if they wanted.
"Although we know that it is difficult to finish the registration of more than 500,000 expat professionals before the deadline, we cannot do anything now. People delayed it even though the newspapers published the information on expat registration on July 2," added Al-Qasimi.
He said EIDA would take all steps to ease the pressure and would also take appropriate steps if registration is not finished by December end.
He added that new software would be available on the EIDA website from Tuesday evening to allow people to access the pre-application forms for registration.
I am an ex-pat. I rang the call centre a week ago to make an appointment. The rep told me all November appointments were taken and as of December 1st it will be first come first serve. It is impossible to register everyone. Why doesn't the government first focus on registering local professionals? Unless the government extends the deadline there will be chaos in December. The offices will be closed for the upcoming Eid holiday. Ex-pats may be forced to drive to neighboring Emirates if they want to beat the deadline. I think I will just wait and see what happens...why is the government in such a hurry anyway?
What about those who have registered and waiting for the appointment ?? I registered on 13 November and have been told no appointments till December 1, 2008. Since the number of people registering will only compound as we near the deadline, the Authority would do well to open few more registration centers and clear the waiting list backlog quickly.
I went to Karama centre at 5 am and joined a q of 60 people in front of me. 7.15 we were told that only 20 people, the first 20 people are taken and that is the limit on each day.. that is it..we are free to come tomorrow and try again if we are in lucky 20.. I am told another centre take 30 men and 30 women in a day. so authorities will need almost 10 years to finish UAE existing population in the current situation..
does that mean 90 pct of the expat population is going to have illegal residential status?
Can Arabian Business and other media please request Mr. Qasimi and the EIDA to clarify the following: 1. Is it true that the freezing of bank accounts applies only to locals and not expats? 2. What do they mean by "government services" that we wont have access to without the card? Does that mean the police, ambulances, registering our cars, etc? 3. What will be the closing days of the EID Centres for Eid and how will this affect the appointments made? 4. Was the media campaign launched by the government/EID department a stealth one? And didnt it initially say that the deadline was 2010? 5. Why has the deadline been changed? And why is not possible to extend this unrealistic deadline? 6. What measures are they taking to streamline the process and make it easier for half a million expats to be registered in a month's time? Honestly, is it too much to ask to have some clarity surrounding a government drive that affects all the population of the UAE? Please can someone give us answers? Mr. Al Qasimi's words just added salt to our wounds. Correct me if I"m wrong, but a summary of what he's said in the article above is "We know its not working, but deal with it. Or you will be punished".
lee, i've tried getting appointments in sharjah, ajman, and abu dhabi ... no luck ...
I totally agree with Lee. Out of nowhere the government moved the deadline to this december when it was to december '09 earlier ! and to register the locals they were given almost two years to do that and they consist about 8% of the population.... how can they expect to register the 90% remaining in such a short notice?
Yet another true reflection of the inefficient processes that we endure here in the UAE> No more registration forms are available; and to download from the website is simply impossible, unless you don't have anything else to do and can wait all day for this to happen!! We have quite a number of public holidays coming up in December which will mean even less availability for anyone to get this process completed!!! - As I am writing this, I am actually laughing as this is so typical .... Enjoy the process
I am willing to register to get my Emirates ID card... but make it possible! I've been trying any ways possible to complete the registration form (1st nightmare) and get an appointment (2nd nightmare): The EIDA Web site is one of the most unprofessional sites I've ever seen - which is strange for this country that supports one of the best eGovernment system in the world! Anyway, completing their form online took me a week before being able to reach to the last page (barcodes)... only that the barcodes were not appearing! A week later (up to 4 hours a day trying to complete the same form again and again - the system' not saving the completed pages properly!), I finally was able to print my registration form! By the way, try to get the CD-ROM that contains the registration form: still not available 3 days after being announced! Once the registration finally completed, I tried to get an appointment. Another nightmare! No way to get one by calling... and online is simply a joke! Again after over a week trying online, up to 5 to 6 hours a day, I finaly got one for 5:00 on a Sunday! I went at 5pm on said day... to be told that my appointment was for 5AM, that it was a mistake from the system and that I should get a new appointment. Can I get an appointment now as I'm the victim of a poorly programed software? No! Call or apply online. Back to square one. I tried today to go to Sharjah, Dubai being overloaded. There it's worst: the door of the EIDA centre is closed and opens only for those with an appoitment. How can I get an appointment? Go online! Can I wait for my turn (walk-in)? No! Get an appointment! EIDA, get your act together and we'll glady comply with your 31st December deadline. Don't ask us to comply with a deadline that your organization cannot even support!
This has started haunting me, as i will be leaving Dubai by 15Dec for my marriage, and hope on my arrival back in dubai airport i dont have to face any kind objection to enter dubai, or wont be able to do bank transactions. Also heard from Hit 96.7FM on 16NOV that a PIN no will be provided with the EID which will be required to use in the ATM for any transactions. God knows how things are going to end up.