x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Police increase random ID checks

The Ministry of the Interior orders police to significantly increase spot checks to catch people illegally living in the country.

ABU DHABI // People should carry proof of their residency with them at all times, a senior official cautioned yesterday, because the Ministry of the Interior has ordered police to significantly increase spot checks to catch people in the country illegally. "This is not a one-time campaign but a new mission that will be entrusted to each police station to catch those living illegally in the country," said Brig Gen Nasser al Minhali, the acting director general of the federal Department of Naturalisation and Residency, which is part of the ministry.

"The details will depend on each police station, but officers will be doing these random checks for documents as they patrol the streets," Gen al Minhali said. "The point is not to disrupt daily life, but to catch those living here illegally." He said people should "carry proof of their residency at all times", and that copies of residency visas and labour cards were acceptable forms of identification.

Asked if the initiative was related to last week's operation in Ajman, where 1,500 police officers raided the emirate's main industrial area looking for illegal workers, Gen al Minhali said: "Absolutely not. This is a separate operation to do with our own directives and strategic plan." More police stations will be set up in populated areas as part of the plan, Gen al Minhali said, adding that, contrary to some reports, police would not be setting up checkpoints on roads.

The Government has launched several initiatives recently to reduce the number of people living in the country illegally. Iris scanning has prevented more than 300,000 deportees from re-entering the country under false names. An amnesty for illegal workers in 2007 helped legalise the status of more than 176,000 workers. myoussef@thenational.ae