Millions of dirhams worth of fines were waived during the UAE’s five-month amnesty on illegal immigrants, according to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
The ‘Protect Yourself by Changing Your Status’ scheme, which allowed illegal residents to leave the UAE without paying fines or facing prosecution, registered a response rate of 88 per cent, the authority said.
The initiative also provided an option for illegal residents to modify their status with a six-month job-seeker visa.
The programme, which began on August 1, was initially slated to end on October 31. However, it was later extended by two months until December 31.
Thousands of people, including workers, families overstaying residence visas and those who entered the country illegally benfitted from the scheme, the authority said.
Among the beneficiaries of the scheme during the opening weeks was a family based in Ajman, which had Dhs3m ($816,735) of overstay fines cleared. Nine centres were set up across the country to receive the amnesty seekers.
However, he also urged those who opted for the temporary visa to adhere to its six-month validity and warned them to leave the country if they were unable to get a job during the period.
Al Rashidi also warned residents and companies in the UAE to avoid sheltering or recruiting people living illegally in the country.
People caught staying illegally in the country after the end of the amnesty period will face strict penalties, including fines, jail sentences and deportation, the authority said.
Source Credit: Gulf Business