x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fewer need emergency Indian permit to fly out of UAE

Use of document to replace passports lower after UAE bolsters borders against illegal entry and Indian workers learn host nation's rules.

ABU DHABI // An effort by the Indian missions with the co-operation of the UAE has lowered the number of expatriates who need to be given emergency permits to fly home over the past few years.

The missions issue one-way permits, called emergency certificates, to Indians who have lost their passports, have entered the country illegally or have completed jail terms and are awaiting deportation. They allow them to fly once, from the UAE to India only.

For the first five months of this year, the Indian Embassy and consulate issued 1,919 certificates. For the whole of last year, 5,195 temporary permits were issued.

The numbers for 2009 and 2010 were even higher, with 11,171 and 8,262 issued respectively, embassy officials say.

The reduction is largely due to increased border security at UAE entry points, which has prevented illegal immigration.

MK Lokesh, the Indian ambassador, said his government widely publicised rules and regulations for working and living in the Arabian Gulf, cautioning workers about unscrupulous agents.

Mr Lokesh said this had also reduced the number of emergency certificates issued.

The travel documents allow Indian nationals to travel only from the UAE to their native country.

"Once they reach India they have to apply for a regular new passport," Mr Lokesh said.

"When the mission ascertains that they do not acquire any other nationality and they are Indian nationals, then we give the emergency certificate. All these cases are repatriation cases."

There are normally three conditions under which a temporary permit would be issued, he said.

"These conditions include if a person travelled to the UAE on visit or tourist visas and lost his/her passport, then we issue them an emergency certificate.

"Secondly, [there are] those who are in UAE jails for different reasons of absconding, overstay, illegal entry, cases of fraud or forgery.

"Then the UAE jails inform the mission that these people were arrested here in different cases and now they have completed their jail terms and we want to repatriate them to their country. Then we issue them this travel document."

In such cases, the embassy verifies applicants' nationalities and cross-checks their documents with the Indian government before issuing the certificate.

The third group eligible are housemaids or workers who have fled from their sponsors, leaving their passports behind.

The community welfare wing of the embassy liaises with the UAE residency department to process legal documents so emergency documents can be issued properly.

anwar@thenational.ae