Some 1,100 Pakistani expats in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have taken advantage of an amnesty visa scheme launched earlier this month, Khaleej Times reported yesterday. Pakistani expats who have overstayed have the chance to pick up travel documents without having to pay fines.
Under the new scheme called “Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status”, over stayers in the UAE can have their legal status resolved this year between 1 August and 31 October. The Emirates are allowing anyone who has overstayed their visa to look for employment within a seven-month amnesty visa scheme, or legally return to Pakistan.
Pakistani residents who entered the UAE illegally without a valid visa will be forced to leave without paying a fine, and will be barred from re-entering the country for two years.
According to Syed Javed Hassan, consul general of Pakistan, some 700 men and women have approached various help desks set up by the Al-Aweer Immigration Centre. Adding to this, 400 others who approached the Pakistan Consulate directly for the visa scheme.
There are nine visa centres across the UAE offering the scheme. In Abu Dhabi, the centre will be located at the immigration offices in Shahama, Al-Ain, Al Gharbia and Al-Dhafra.
According to Pakistan-based Geo TV, the amnesty is part of an effort to encourage Pakistani nationals to legalise their status as expats.
Some 1.2 million Pakistanis live in the United Arab Emirates.