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By Cheng Ordonez, Editor-in-Chief

DUBAI – Tthe General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs -Dubai (GDRFA-D) has issued a warning against expatriates, particularly those who opted for the “Jobseeker Visa” during the amnesty period given last year, to abide by the rules in the United Arab Emirates, and also to employers from making the mistake of hiring them after their visas expire.

The UAE government, particularly GDRFA, had provided overstaying expatriates, including Filipinos, with the option for Jobseekers’ Vis, apart from those who opted to go home to their respective
countries, to give them the chance to find jobs and recover from the “stressful hiding” conditions they had undergone — some of them for many years.

The Jobseeker Visa lasts for six months from the date of issuance.

UAE authorities want to make sure that as soon a holder of a Jobseeker’s Visa fails to find a job within the prescribed period, they must leave the country.

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, director general, GDRFA Dubai, has issued the warning to overstaying expatriates on the consequences of going into hiding again and for being hired illegally.

“That is why I’m advising the people, while they are living in the United Arab Emirates, (that they) must respect the rule; the country will respect them; the people will respect them; they will live (happily),” Al Marri said.

Al Marri said the UAE government has given them enough time and a good chance to prepare themselves. And, as soon as their visas expire, they should turn themselves in, go home and come back later if they wish to.

“We will make their going home easily — without any balance or anything — if they are still on the six-month visa (period), looking for jobs. Of course, if they are overstaying, there’s the overstaying payment after the six-month (period),” he said.

For the employers, this is what Major General Al Marri said: “According to the rule, you (employers) cannot hire anyone who is illegal — (to work) for you and your company, your establishment, anywhere — without legal permit because there is a fine of 50,000
dirhams (for those) who will hire.”

Authorities hinted that there is a way for the government to check who has been hired and who has gone into hiding again.

And, should anyone overstayed and was apprehended, he or she will be deported and will be banned from coming to UAE forever.

The Philippine Consulate General for Dubai and the Northern Emirates had opened its door to help Filipinos who sought amnesty during the amnesty period last year.

And, even resumed assisting overstaying Filipinos who availed of the twice-extended UAE immigration amnesty program, Consul General Cortes said at a press briefing last year.

Cortes had even urged amnesty-seekers who were facing financial and legal issues to take advantage of the second extension offered by the UAE government.

The amnesty program had been extended until December 31, 2018, and the requirements were the same but only those with immigration or absconding cases were made to avail of the program.

Cortes said that as of the end of November, the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai have assisted at least 7,398 overstaying Filipinos who availed of the amnesty. Out of the total number, the Philippine missions have renewed the passports of 3,027 Filipinos who applied for the six-month jobseeker visa or who have already found employment while 1,639 Filipinos who lost their passports received new ones, the khaleejtimes.com reported.

He told khaleejtimes.com that at least 2,732 Filipinos were repatriated back home after availing of the amnesty. The Philippine government paid for their exit passes, lifting of absconding cases and one-way airfare. Those who opted to go home also received $100 (Dh365) each, except the minors, as “welfare assistance.”