3 Months Amnesty for UAE Illegal Aliens

Four years after granting a general amnesty to foreign nationals illegally staying in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE government has again decided to institute a three-month reprieve to illegal aliens to legalize their status or leave the country without penalty.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila quoted Vicente Bandillo, acting head of the Philippine consulate general in Dubai, as saying that the amnesty was granted on Monday.

“The decision of the UAE Cabinet [was aimed at ensuring] all legal workers would enjoy the full and appropriate benefits relating to their salaries, health care and housing,” the DFA said.

It added: “The [UAE] Cabinet has instructed the Ministries of Interior and Labor to work together to take the necessary steps to implement the decision.”

Bandillo also reported that the consulate is anticipating the thousands of Filipinos that are expected to flock to apply for travel documents to stay legally in the UAE.

Hours after news broke out in leading newspapers, Bandillo said the consulate received numerous phone calls from Filipinos asking about the amnesty. Some even went to the consulate to inquire and apply for travel documents.

“This development would surely benefit a significant number of Filipinos in the UAE who arrived with visit visas but eventually stayed in the country illegally, as well as those who could not leave the country for fear of being apprehended by immigration authorities or could not afford to pay the fines or penalties for overstaying,” Bandillo said.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that for from 2005-2006, UAE was the second top destination of would-be overseas Filipino workers.

There were 82,039 documented OFWs sent to the UAE in 2005 and 99,212 in 2006 out of a total 1.221 million OFWs deployed in 2006 and 1.204 million in 2005.

OFWs based in the UAE were at 7th in terms of remittances for the last two years. The money sent by Filipinos to their families back home amounted to $427,246 in 2006 from $257,429 in 2005. (source: abs-cbn interactive)


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