Reena Chauhan of Indian Consulate works at the help desk at the centre for amnesty seekers set up by General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Al Aweer. Chauhan said that so far, most people who came here had funds to pay their fines. “In some cases, needy Indian expats are provided assistance. We have also arranged air tickets for people who are unable to afford it, we decide these things on case-by-case basis.”
After working for a janitor company for some time, the company was in process of closing down and hence, they had to leave. For one month, they searched for another job in the UAE, and successfully found a company which promised to provide visas. Unfortunately, the promise wasn't met and therefore, became listed as illegals. The two women are excited to avail the amnesty scheme and wish to return to the UAE.
Krishnamurthy was stranded in UAE after being falsely declared an absconder by former employer. She said: “I am overwhelmed by the efficiency of the department. As soon as they realised that I was not an absconder, they refunded the fee to remove the absconder status.“
Five domestic workers tell how they came to be known as runaway maids. These include but are not limited to 25-year-old Maureen Malukwago, from Uganda. She says: "The most important thing is respect. If you respect me as a human being, I will respect you as a boss because we are helping one another. I am helping you and you are paying me." Another victim is 48-year-old Tessie Placeros from the Philippines. After travelling between different homes in UAE to clean and serve the families, her last employer was not as good to her as she hoped. She said: I survived for three years without a visa. Whatever your life is here, you must be strong with it." Both of these women along with many others are eager to seize the opportunity of the amnesty.
Among the thousands who have applied since the "Protect Yourself" campaign began last Wednesday, domestic workers emerged as a particularly vulnerable group. Sponsors often expect staff to repay the cost of their visa and agency fees worth thousands of dirhams. Hence, they are caused to flee which could lead them to own nothing but the clothes they are wearing, which is provided by the employer.
Khalid Yousef Bin Hasiba, Executive Director of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Umm Al Quwain, mentioned that The Center received an illegal resident yesterday, who has violated the rules of staying since hisbirth in 1997, which adds to a total of 21 years of violation and is estimated to have committed about 75,600 dirhams worth of fines. Hasiba pointed out that one of the cases amounted to more than 2 million dirhams. He also mentioned that a civil team is supervising and monitoring the process of receiving violators in order to help them with completion of their transactions to modify the situation or departure, and to work for the convenience of reviewers and provide the best services to the public. He also pointed out that the procedures are done very easily and quickly.
Brigadier General Dr. Ahmed pointed out that the fourth day of the deadline witnessed an increasing number of violators exceeding 400, the majority of whom are under the category of violation of "escape notices" who attended to receive their passports. Their passports were previously received by the Department of Residence from the national guarantors to release their responsibility,
Tasheel Centres in Sharjah allocated 50 employers to aid amnesty seekers in availing the scheme. These include temporary residence for 6 months, renewal of the residence of families who are forcibly displaced, hence, from countries of war, disasters and disturbances, and also the employment procedures for sponsors who wish to renew the residence of their employees.
The exemption of many of the large sums resulting from the accumulation of fines that reached 13.8 million dirhams in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. While Ajman Center witnessed the exemption of an Arab youth from 756 thousand dirhams, total of fines, Ras Al Khaimah Center exempted a woman from Tajikistan from 511 thousand dirhams worth of fines , A total of 1.2 million, to confirm that the deadline was an excellent humanitarian scene.
Due to the massive rush witnessed by GDRFA amnesty tent in Sharjah, Amnesty-seekers in Sharjah have been urged to visit Tasheel centres, and not the amnesty tent, to get their status rectified. Only those seeking to exit the UAE should visit the tent set up outside the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA Sharjah) in Al Qasimiya.