The UAE, a major hub for migrant labourers, has announced a second extension to an amnesty for workers who entered the country without a visa or overstayed their work permit.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said the “Protect Yourself by Adjusting Your Status” initiative is being extended to December 31, as part of the 47th National Day celebrations.
The extension aims to provide new opportunities for those who qualify but have not been able to adjust their status by either voluntarily leaving the country or obtaining legitimate residency, state news agency WAM reported on Monday.
The authority initially launched the three-month initiative on August 1 but was first extended to November 30 and will now end on the last day of 2018.
Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al Rashidi, acting director-general of Foreigners and Ports Affairs, said that the authority has received many calls from those who were not able to benefit from the initiative, due to being unable to complete the required procedures.
These calls were directed to the country’s leadership, who immediately responded and extended the initiative, he added.
The authority said it has allocated nine centres to serve those covered by the initiative, which includes the Al Shahama Centre in Abu Dhabi and the Al Owair Centre in Dubai, as well as other centres in Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Al Ain and Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi.
The government previously said those who entered the UAE illegally or overstayed their visas and who come forward before the deadline will not be fined or charged if they choose to leave the country voluntarily.
The amnesty also grants those looking for employment a six-month visa to find a job. It excludes, however, those who are “blacklisted” or with legal cases pending.
The UAE, the fourth largest oil producer in the OPEC oil cartel, is home to a huge workforce from Asia and Africa.