x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Illegal residents slow to seek visa amnesty in Sharjah

Only a small fraction of illegal residents have come to the Sharjah Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs Department to seek amnesty since the programme begin in December.

SHARJAH // Only a small number of illegal residents have come to the Sharjah Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs Department to take advantage of the visa amnesty since the programme started in December.

Brig Abdullah Ali bin Sahoo, director of the department, said 4,250 people had visited as of Monday.

He appealed to illegal residents to seize the opportunity. "This is a golden chance for all illegals in the country, and no one should miss it," Brig bin Sahoo said. "Once the deadline has passed we are going to start an intensive campaign to catch all illegals."

The amnesty offer allows illegal residents to leave the UAE without paying fines. It began on December 4 and will continue until February 4. Two months, he said, was enough time for those affected to make a decision and legalise their stays in the country.

In Sharjah, the department was receiving illegals in two centres: a main unit in Al Qassimia, and the Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs office in Khorfakhan.

In Ajman, the director of the Naturalisation and Foreign Affairs Department, Brig Mohammed Abdullah Alwan, said 1,305 residents had applied for exit passes.

He said the department expected more people to come forward at the end of the month, as many were waiting for the last days of the programme.

ykakande@thenational.ae