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'Three-month amnesty plan ready'

posted on 25/01/2002: 927 views

Expatriates residing in the UAE illegally will be granted a chance to rectify their residential status by either leaving the country without paying fines or obtaining legal residence permits, Minister of Interior Lt. General Dr Mohammed Saeed Al Badi said on Tuesday.

Many expatriates who entered the country on visit permits and overstayed in the country, in addition to those who have lost their jobs and could not get new sponsors are expected to benefit from the long-awaited amnesty. "Absconders, illegally immigrants and other violators of the residency law are expected to benefit from this three-month amnesty," explained Brigadier Hadhir Bin Khalef Al Muhairy, General Director of the Residency and Naturalisation Department of the Ministry of Interior.

The last amnesty was granted in 1996, Muhairy said, adding: "It will come into effect soon."

"We expect a large number of illegal immigrants to leave the country during the grace period. We know that many people are waiting for this opportunity," he added. Badi told the FNC that his ministry had outlined a population strategy on the demographic structure in the country. Salient aspects of the strategy include a countrywide crackdown on infiltrators and other residency laws violators in the country.

He pointed out that the ministry's data storage system was efficient and that visitors who have overstayed in the country were being monitored. "We are keeping track of all visitors...we have information on their arrival and departure and those who violate the law are prosecuted," he said. Assistant Under Secretary at the Interior Ministry Major General Saif Al Shafar also answered questions and explained several points regarding traffic and road accidents in the country. A report from the Interior Ministry reviewed during the session quoted Interpol statistics which showed that the UAE is among countries with low crime rate in the world.

The official said that out of the total criminals recorded according to their nationalities from 1997 to 2001, UAE nationals accounted for only 17.6 per cent and that the most widely spread crimes in the country are those related to money, which represent 57.6 per cent of the total crimes committed during the said period. It added that most of these crimes are related to issuing of dud cheques. (The Gulf Today)


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