Overstaying Filipinos avail UAE’s amnesty program

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Dubai, UAE – Hundreds out of about 5,000 overstaying Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates are flocking to beat the immigration amnesty three-month program offered by the government of the United Arab Emirates which will end on October 31.

Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes revealed that many of the Filipino amnesty seekers have been cleared of overstaying fines and were issued exit passes, so they could return to the Philippines without travel ban to allow them to return to the UAE if they want.

Dubbed as “Protect yourself by changing your status”, the program is aimed at providing the overstaying Filipino the smooth exit without getting banned from returning to UAE.

Those who availed the program go to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) office in Al-Aweer, Dubai and to Amer Service Centers.

Those who have been filed with absconding cases by their employers have also been cleared, the official told some members of the Filipino media.

According to Cortes, the Philippine Consulate have paid for the exit permits, the outpass fees and the fees for lifting of the absconding cases for the amnesty seekers who have sought for assistance. The consulate also booked one-way tickets (DXB-MNL) for about 93 returning Filipinos.

“The rest were not aware that we are providing them with free tickets. Some of them have both tickets a month before. Unfortunately, we cannot refund the fare due to restrictions in the Philippine government auditing rules,” Cortes told some members of the Filipino media.

Out of the 93 who were given free tickets, five were minors who will travel with their respective guardians, he said, adding that the travel expenses of the guardians will not be shouldered by the Philippine government.

Cortes pegged the cost of sending home an overstaying Filipino at Dh2,200 per person, including the cost of air fare and exit permits. The Philippine government is set to shell out at least Dh11m for Filipino amnesty seekers, which will be taken from the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) funds.

An undisclosed amount of welfare assistance will also be provided to the returning Filipinos while the DFA officials in Manila will assist them in their travel from the airport to their respective hometowns or provinces, the consul general added.

The first batch of returning Filipinos will fly out of Dubai on August 15 via Philippine Airlines flight PR 659 which will take off from DXB Terminal 1 at 7:35pm and arrive 8.15am the following day (Manila time) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. They will be met by officials from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

His Excellency Major General Obaid Muhair bin Sorour, Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai said: “This humanitarian initiative, comes within the framework of the initiatives of “Zayed” year, aims to resolve the situation of visa violators in the country in accordance with the 2018 decision of the Cabinet to grant violators of the Aliens Law three months to modify their situation and exempt them from all fines. GDRFA Dubai implemented the directives of the leadership to resolve the situation of violators and facilitate their procedures.”

Sorour held an inspection tour at the Al -Aweer halls and monitored the work process on the first day of initiative. -Henri Abenis-Macahilo/NewsLine.ph

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