UAE legal Q&As: A look at deportation laws

With so many questions received from readers about deportation, this week's Know the Law column focuses on the issue.

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With so many questions from readers about deportation issues, this week’s Know the Law is devoted exclusively to this topic, offering Yousef Al Bahar’s legal expertise on the matter.

Despite the best efforts of police and other authorities, it is impossible to have a crime-free country, so court-ordered deportation is necessary if the UAE is to cut crime.

Under the law, there are two types of deportation – legal and administrative. The first is the outcome of being convicted in a criminal case and is issued by a panel of judges in a court of law.

This type of deportation is mandatory, according to UAE Criminal Code Article 121, and can be used against those who have committed crimes such as sexual assault.

Administrative deportation is issued by the Ministry of Interior and the bodies related to it, such as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and others.

This measure is mainly aimed at maintaining high levels of security and it is issued against individuals who are thought to be a threat to public safety and welfare.

After any deportation, the name of the person concerned will be added to a banned list, so officials are aware of who is not allowed entry.

However, some individuals who have been deported, whether by a court’s order or due to a decision issued by the Ministry of Interior, have returned to the country illegally using forged passports.

The country is trying to curb the numbers of deported people who return illegally.

Dubai Police, for instance, holds several meetings a year with its international partners to find answers to this problem but the matter needs more cooperation from others, such as travel agencies and airlines. Their cooperation would contribute greatly to sterner checks on those applying for a visa or travelling to the country.

Once a deportation order is issued, it is final and infinite, but when someone is deported for an offence that does not pose a threat to the safety and stability of the country, they can appeal.

A person can apply for a mercy petition through the Ministry of Interior website or they can appoint a lawyer to submit the petition on their behalf.

In Dubai, there is a committee whose sole purpose is to deal with appeal applications submitted by deportees. The committee members study each case and give a decision on whether to cancel the deportation or not.

Most petitions are made in hope more than anything else, but I do know of several people who have submitted a petition and had their deportation lifted.

Yousef Al Bahar is an advocate at Al Bahar and Associates Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.