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Ministry to help illegal workers opting to leave country

posted on 30/12/2002: 929 views

Expatriates availing themselves of the amnesty offer can in the event of any pending dues pursue their cases from their home countries or appoint legal representatives in the UAE to look into their cases, Dr Khalid Mohammed Al Khazraji, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, told Khaleej Times in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Speaking about the processing of papers and dues of illegal workers wishing to leave the country during the four-month grace period granted by the government, Dr Khazraji said that the ministry was keen to help expatriate employees to settle their entitlements before or after they leave the country. "Those employees who might not be able to settle their dues will be allowed either to follow up their cases through their respective embassies or through appointing a lawyer to pursue their cases with their sponsors," said Dr Khazraji.

The pardon period, which came in line with the UAE Federal Law No. 6 for 1973, will last for four months beginning from January 1 and ending on April 30, 2003. According to the new rule, illegal immigrants can either leave the country or regularise their residency status in the country without fines or penalties.

On the procedures adopted by the ministry to facilitate departure for the illegal immigrants, the under-secretary said the ministry would transfer the passports belonging to absconding workers to the Naturalisation and Residence Department while those who do not have identification documents will be dealt with directly by the Ministry of Interior and other authorities concerned in the country.

Answering a question on the preparations made by the ministry to avoid any backlogs in the new rule compared to 1996 amnesty, which lasted for six months and resulted in the departure of around 200,000 illegal immigrants, Dr Khazraji replied: "This time we made sure that the amnesty does not include transferring of sponsorship as was the case with the 1996 pardon, a matter that led to inconvenience and dismayed a large number of sponsors. (The Khaleej Times)


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