Labour amnesty extended

The amnesty period, which ended last week, has been extended to 3 November 2007 in order to provide a last chance for illegal immigrants to exit the UAE.

NEWS, Human Resource

The amnesty period, which ended last week, has been extended to 3 November 2007 in order to provide a last chance for illegal immigrants to exit the UAE.

The Ministry of Interior has said that it will continue to process exit passes for illegals seeking amnesty to leave the country until the set date, without imposing any penalty or fines, according to a statement issued by the Minister of Interior lieutenant-general Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

But this extension will only allow illegal workers to exit the country without any consequences; it will not allow them to regularise their residency status.

"So far, about 285,000 workers have been issued exit passes, according to our information," BS Mubarak, Labour Consul, Consulate General of India, told Construction Week.

"The Ministry of Interior has extended the amnesty in a bid to get rid of illegal immigrants completely and give them this last chance to go home peacefully. The estimated figure for the illegals in the country hasn't been met [by the amnesty] as yet but it has come close to it, so I suppose they [the government] want to receive a 100% result and that's why they've extended it. This will let all those who haven't been able to exit earlier, do it now."

The Consulate General of India has received 39,838 applications for emergency certificates as of 21 August, around 70% of which are thought to be from construction workers.

The Ministry of Labour has warned that tough action will be taken against illegal workers and companies employing them, once the grace period is over.

Companies sheltering or recruiting illegal workers will be fined up to US $27,000 (AED100,000) while all illegal workers will be fined some $14,000.

It also said that intensive inspection campaigns would be launched at work sites and elsewhere to trace and prosecute illegal workers, in accordance with the UAE labour laws. The amnesty was declared in June 2007.

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