After the amnesty: UAE immigration officers to begin visa inspection campaign

Officials said any check-ups on residents without visas will be targeted - and that 'no one will be stopped in the street'

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., August 26 , 2018.  Visa violators who have been trying to take advantage of the amnesty at the Tas-Heel Centre at Al Raha Mall.
 Victor Besa/The National
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Reporter:  Haneen Dajani
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Immigration officers will begin a campaign to identify residents who are in the UAE without a valid visa when the four-month amnesty ends on December 1.

But the authorities insisted "no one will be stopped in the street" and that all checks will be targeted.

The amnesty led to at least 30,000 without a valid visa coming forward in the first three months to tell the authorities they were in the country without valid documents.

Many asked for new visas while others - often with huge overstay fines that were subsequently waived - returned to their home country.

When the amnesty ends on Saturday, immigration officers will begin to tackle those that remain in the country illegally.


Today, a total of 101 Filipino nationals will fly out of Dubai via Philippine Airlines.

The Philippine Consulate has booked a one-way tickets (DXB-MNL) for the returning Filipinos. "Out of the 152 amnesty-seekers, 101 were given free tickets. The rest were not aware that we are providing them with free tickets. Some of them had their tickets booked a month before. Unfortunately, we cannot refund the fare due to restrictions in the Philippine government auditing rules," Cortes said.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: Patrick Ryan
Section:  NA
Filipino nationals prepare to fly out of Dubai to Manila in August as part of the UAE's amnesty programme. Reem Mohammed / The National 

Brig Gen Saeed Rakan, acting director general for the immigration authority, said there will be inspection campaigns to catch people without valid visas.

"The campaigns will follow planned procedures and will not be random inspections stopping people on the streets," he told The National.

“We will start applying the law against offenders but we will not stand out in public and ask people for their ID cards.

"We will follow legal procedures based on investigative reports.”

A search would be carried out for example if police learn of residential areas with a large illegal population or shared villas that is home to those without visas.

“When the traffic police ask for a driver's licence, it is based on an offence they committed or an incident that made them stop the person,” Brig Gen Rakan said.

"We don’t just stop all cars and ask for someone's licence."

At the end of the previous amnesty in 2013, a total of 385 people were arrested for failing to have a valid visa, including dozens in the Mussaffah and Tourist Club areas of Abu Dhabi.


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