Immigration raids yield 16 arrests

Sixteen people were arrested in raids on construction sites in Madinat Zayed this month and charged with being in the country illegally.

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ABU DHABI // Sixteen people were arrested in raids on construction sites in Madinat Zayed this month and charged with being in the country illegally. Police said they were still looking for three individuals who they believe brought the 16 people into the country and offered them jobs and accommodation. They declined to reveal any information about the suspects. Col Hilal al Mazrouei, head of violators and foreigners section of the Directorate of Naturalisation and Residency, said four of the 16 who were arrested had infiltrated the country on foot, while the rest had committed various visa violations.

The "surprise inspection" turned up about 100 workers who did not have their work documents with them, but further investigation revealed that only 16 were present illegally, Col al Mazrouei said. He called on workers to have their labour cards with them at all times and to ensure that their work contracts were accessible for inspection. As a part of the Government's general crime-fighting efforts, regular inspections would continue with the aim of catching anyone violating visa and residency laws, he said.

The penalty for hiring or housing an illegal immigrant is a fine of Dh100,000 (US$27,000) and two months in prison. A person who hires a foreigner whom he did not sponsor faces a fine of Dh50,000. hdajani@thenational.ae