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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Citizens of war-torn countries living in UAE granted 'one-year asylum' 

People from such countries who have overstayed their visa can live in the UAE for a year, should they declare their illegal status 

Citizens of war-torn countries of those where there are natural disasters can now stay in the Emirates for a year if they come forward to declare their status, after a resolution by the UAE Cabinet on June 18, 2018. Andrew Parsons / The National
Citizens of war-torn countries of those where there are natural disasters can now stay in the Emirates for a year if they come forward to declare their status, after a resolution by the UAE Cabinet on June 18, 2018. Andrew Parsons / The National

Citizens of war-torn countries living in the UAE who have overstayed their visas will be allowed to remain in the Emirates for a year if they come forward, declare their illegal status and apply for a stay permit.

On Monday, the UAE Cabinet, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, adopted a resolution that will grant citizens of countries in which there are wars and natural disasters extendable one-year permits — regardless of their condition of residence — from August 1 to October 31, 2018.

Those who come forward during the grace period will not face legal consequences and will be exempt from any imposed fines.

This resolution aims to help citizens of such countries improve their livelihoods and facilitate their eventual return to their homelands. It comes as part of the UAE’s efforts to help those in need and to strengthen the country’s position as an “incubator of all nationalities, acting as a second homeland,” reported state news agency Wam.

“It is also a part of the country's principles and responsibility to support the most vulnerable people of the world as an active supporter of international peace and stability, especially in the Arab and the GCC region,” Wam said.

The resolution follows sweeping reforms made to the country’s visa laws last week when the Cabinet approved resolutions to slacken penalties for those who have overstayed their visa and for anyone who has illegally entered the country.

Previously, such offences would have resulted in a re-entry ban but now residents who overstay their visa will instead be offered the opportunity to leave the country voluntarily without a "no entry" passport stamp.

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