By Roy Mabasa
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has called on all undocumented foreigners, including Filipinos, to take advantage of the one-month extension of the amnesty program or face stiff punishment that may include a fine, jail term and deportation.
This developed as the Philippine government welcomed the granting of amnesty extension until December 1, a program that will benefit more undocumented Filipinos who may have the option to return home without penalties, or correct their status and continue to work in that country.
Since the amnesty’s launching in August, a total of 2,153 undocumented Filipinos have availed of the program and have been repatriated back to the Philippines.
For undocumented Filipinos who will avail of the amnesty, the Philippine government will shoulder the cost of their exit fines and airline tickets to Manila and to their respective provinces.
Earlier, the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi said there are approximately 10,000 Filipinos in Abu Dhabi and 20,000 in Dubai who are deemed eligible under the amnesty program.
It was reported that the UAE was compelled to extend the 90-day program for another month due to technical issues involving the amnesty system, as well as the delays in the issuance of travel document and other procedures arranged by different countries’ embassies for their nationals.
UAE has assured undocumented foreigners that the nine amnesty centers in Shahama Center in Abu Dhabi, the Al Aweer Center in Dubai and at the foreigners’ residence buildings in Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Abu Dhabi Emirate will remain open until the end of the new deadline.