UAE: A larger than expected number of illegal immigrants has left the country during the two-month (December 4 to February 4) amnesty, according to authorities.
A number of embassies, immigration authorities and the Ministry of Interior called the amnesty campaign, which ends today, a success.
A source at the Ministry of Interior, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the response from residents without legal status to voluntarily leave the country during the two-month amnesty period had been “very encouraging”.
A Pakistani girl being helped by the staff at the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. — KT photos by Leslie Pableo
“A larger number of illegal immigrants, more than we expected, turned to the authorities seeking permits to leave the country... hopefully, by (today) when the reprieve period ends, there will be no or a very small number of illegal immigrants staying back,” said the source.
The ministry would issue a statement on the exact number of people who had left by the end of this week, he added.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFAD) had by Sunday processed about 20,000 transactions for illegal residents over the amnesty period.
Director-General Major-General Mohammed Al Marri said the response had been overwhelming.
Last Tuesday, the directorate ordered a two-hour extension of daily working hours to meet the pressing demand and process more amnesty transactions for illegal residents, some of whom have been illegally staying in the UAE for 16 years or more.
Al Marri said the door remained open for two-month amnesty applicants from 7am to 10pm instead of 7am to 8pm at the set centres. “Applicants, in a process that takes only few minutes, need to submit their travel documents for verification, and then their 10 fingerprints are collected for security check-up.”
He also said amnesty beneficiaries must leave the country within one week after processing their transactions. “As part of the set procedures, they are given a one-week exit permit that may only be renewed once in person at the set centre; otherwise stringent legal action will be imposed.”
In conjunction with the RTA, bus route No 11 was specified for amnesty seekers, taking them from the Gold Souq to Al Aweer Centre, he said.