x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Stateless people can stay in work

Stateless people in employment can continue working if they have met a Nov 6 deadline for registration.

ABU DHABI // Stateless people in employment will be permitted to continue working if they have met a Nov 6 deadline for registration, a senior official said yesterday. Major Gen Nasser al Nuaimi, head of the Interior Minister's office, said his department is directing companies who have stateless people working for them to allow them to continue if they have registered.

The announcement comes 10 days before the end of a mandatory registration period, which began on Sep 7, for the thousands who have been living in the UAE as stateless individuals. Most have been unable to travel, work or enrol their children in higher education. Self employed stateless people who have registered will be issued with an investor visa pending the outcome of their claim for citizenship, said Major Gen Nuaimi, also head of the Citizenship Committee charged with resolving the legal status of the stateless population.

He indicated yesterday that six categories of stateless individuals were being considered for citizenship, while those who hold Emirati passports or the passport of another country need not register. "Those who hold a UAE passport but have no residency certificate and no previous nationality need to register by Nov 6, as do those who were granted residency by royal decree and have no other nationality.

"Those who are stateless and have applied for citizenship prior to Sep 7 need to reapply, as do those who have never applied." Major Gen Nuaimi said others who needed to register were those with expired temporary passports; those who entered the UAE with valid passports but were unable to renew them; and those who have no nationality from any country. The ministry also said the Passports and Immigration Department was looking into the possibility of allowing the sons and daughters of registered stateless people to work.

A statement issued by the Interior Ministry this month said those who fail to register will no longer be allowed to work and will face consequences that have yet to be announced. All who have registered so far have been given registration cards allowing them to stay in their employment. This month the police announced 51 applications for citizenship had so far been approved, with several more set to be granted upon review and approval by the Citizenship Committee.

The Government says there are 10,000 stateless people in the UAE. ealghalib@thenational.ae