UAE parents plead to be reunited with children studying abroad

Families hope their children will soon be able to return to the UAE after they were locked out of universities overseas by Covid-19 measures

Daniel Fazal and Hannah Fazal are students in the UK
Pic courtesy: Anya Startseva

Hundreds of parents in the UAE are appealing for their children, studying at universities abroad, to be brought back to the Emirates after they became stuck outside the country when borders closed.

A group of about 450 parents are making an appeal to authorities that they might make an exception for their children, who no longer have valid UAE residency visas, to be granted permission to return to the country and be reunited with their families.

This week, authorities said people stuck abroad who have valid residency visas would be allowed to fly back to the UAE from June 1. They called on those eager to return to submit a new application on the website for the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Parents are hoping that their children, who are undergraduate students enrolled in universities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and had previously been UAE residents, will be allowed to return as well.

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Our children have spent their entire life with family here in the UAE. Many visas have expired as late as last year and the children are now currently stuck abroad where they had gone for further studies

Namita Saifi, an Indian resident living in Dubai, said one of her two children, aged 22, is stuck in Toronto, Canada.

"My child cannot return because authorities have specifically said only those who have visas can return.”

Ms Saifi is a member of a few groups on social media containing more than 450 parents of teenagers and young adults and are working to bring their children to the UAE.

“My child is dependent on me and he is alone in Canada. Online courses have been announced for the next term and students are depressed as they are away from family.”

Campuses across the US, UK and Europe shut down in mid-March and students were asked to vacate