Illegal residents slow to seek visa amnesty in Sharjah



SHARJAH // Only a small number of illegal residents have come to the Sharjah Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs Department to take advantage of the visa amnesty since the programme started in December.

Brig Abdullah Ali bin Sahoo, director of the department, said 4,250 people had visited as of Monday.

He appealed to illegal residents to seize the opportunity. "This is a golden chance for all illegals in the country, and no one should miss it," Brig bin Sahoo said. "Once the deadline has passed we are going to start an intensive campaign to catch all illegals."

The amnesty offer allows illegal residents to leave the UAE without paying fines. It began on December 4 and will continue until February 4. Two months, he said, was enough time for those affected to make a decision and legalise their stays in the country.

In Sharjah, the department was receiving illegals in two centres: a main unit in Al Qassimia, and the Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs office in Khorfakhan.

In Ajman, the director of the Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs Department, Brig Mohammed Abdullah Alwan, said 1,305 residents had applied for exit passes.

He said the department expected more people to come forward at the end of the month, as many were waiting for the last days of the programme.

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Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
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Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

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Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

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Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

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US households add $601bn of debt in 2019

American households borrowed another $601 billion (Dh2.2bn) in 2019, the largest yearly gain since 2007, just before the global financial crisis, according to February data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Fuelled by rising mortgage debt as homebuyers continued to take advantage of low interest rates, the increase last year brought total household debt to a record high, surpassing the previous peak reached in 2008 just before the market crash, according to the report.

Following the 22nd straight quarter of growth, American household debt swelled to $14.15 trillion by the end of 2019, the New York Fed said in its quarterly report.

In the final three months of the year, new home loans jumped to their highest volume since the fourth quarter of 2005, while credit cards and auto loans also added to the increase.

The bad debt load is taking its toll on some households, and the New York Fed warned that more and more credit card borrowers — particularly young people — were falling behind on their payments.

"Younger borrowers, who are disproportionately likely to have credit cards and student loans as their primary form of debt, struggle more than others with on-time repayment," New York Fed researchers said.

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