In Dubai, the GDRFA has set up tents to help thousands of people seeking to normalise their visa status
The UAE is set to begin an amnesty programme for people living in the country illegally from August 1, allowing them to leave the country without fees or penalties and giving them six months to search for a job.
As part of the amnesty programme – which lasts for three months – illegal residents will have the option of applying for a temporary six-month visa to allow them to search for employment, officials are quoted as saying by local news outlets.
Job seekers registered with the six-month visa at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will reportedly be given priority when it comes to vacancies.
“However, if they don’t find a job within six months, they must exit the country,” Brigadier General Khalaf Al Ghaith, the assistant director general of the violators and foreigners follow-up section at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai is quoted as saying by the Khaleej Times.
Earlier this week, the GDRFA unveiled two large tents in which those seeking to normalise their residency status can go for help during the amnesty period.
The centre – in Dubai’s Al Aweel area – will be able to handle 3,000 people and will be open until October 31. The centre will be open from 8am to 8pm each day, with 40 counters available with officers speaking a variety of languages.
Additionally, several foreign embassies will also set up counters to help their nationals leave the UAE.
“It is a gift from the UAE government and a great humanitarian gesture for the people who are overstaying in the country,” GDRFA Director General Major-General Mohammed Ahmad Al Merri told reporters on Sunday.
“Some people are not criminals but some of them sometimes face the difficult situations which forced them to stay illegally.
“We are giving them a chance to make a new start in their lives,” he added. “Some overstayers fear heavy fines but this amnesty will erase the fines and encourage illegal expats to make their status legal or voluntarily depart without getting a ban.”
People seeking to regularise their visa status can also go to one of Dubai’s 43 Amer centres, where they will be able to process visa paperwork or clear absconding cases.