Wednesday, June 06, 2007

UAE gives illegal workers 90 days to regularize stay or leave

06/05/2007 | 04:08 PM

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After Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates has also tightened its rules on illegal workers by declaring a three-month amnesty beginning June 4 to allow them to regularize their status or leave the country without paying heavy penalties or being jailed.

Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Libran Cabactulan said the embassy was encouraging the illegal Filipinos working in the Gulf state to come out and benefit from the amnesty. The offer, he said, is “with good intentions."

Consul General Antonio Curameng in Dubai said he is convening a meeting with consulate officials, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to discuss arrangements, draft necessary guidelines and facilitate the repatriation of the illegal workers.

Curameng said the consulate is just awaiting official communication from UAE authorities before disseminating the information to the Filipino community.

Undocumented foreign workers in the UAE, including Filipinos, are expected to flock to their embassies and consulates following the decision of the UAE Cabinet to adopt the amnesty program.

Saudi Arabia has implemented a two-month amnesty for illegal workers that ended May 31. Kuwait has also followed suit.

Corollary to the amnesty program, the UAE Ministry of Justice was also reported to be preparing strict rules that would impose heavy fines on people who shelter illegal immigrants or hire absconding workers.

After the UAE government’s announcement of three-month amnesty for illegal residents, airlines are gearing up to meet the possible rush on outbound flights from Dubai.

During the last general amnesty in UAE from January 1 to June 30, 2003, nearly 100,000 illegal residents had benefited, according to a report in Khaleej Times.

UAE ranks second to Saudi Arabia

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