Regarding the most important details of the news, senior officials said yesterday that the UAE plans to impose restrictions on visitor visas for some nationalities as part of an ongoing campaign to expel illegal immigrants and put an end to the infiltration of Asian expatriates.
With a prolonged general amnesty for the country's illegal residents entering its third month, fewer than 10,000 people have left, prompting officials to intensify raids on suspected hideouts and impose tough penalties on those who provide refuge.
tightening visit visa rules in the UAE
In an important talk on this subject, Major General Saif Al Shafar, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Security Affairs, said, "There will be certain restrictions on the issuance of visitor visas for some nationalities to limit the number of illegal immigrants."
He also told reporters, "We are still in the first stage but we are trying to issue visas to visitors that will benefit the country. We want tourists who give a good idea about the UAE. I think that these tough restrictions and laws will put an end to the problem of illegal immigrants."
Shafar said he could not determine the exact number of illegal immigrants who have left the UAE since the second general amnesty took effect on January 1.
But immigration sources said that less than 10,000 have left the country, contrary to expectations that hundreds of thousands will leave, as was the case in the first amnesty six years ago.
Shafar said the departure of offenders would escalate towards the end of the amnesty, but he doubted that all of them would leave.
His views were shared by Mattar Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, who said that many illegal immigrants prefer to stay to earn as much money as possible and compensate what they paid for coming to the UAE.
Shafar added, “I expect their numbers to continue increasing until the end of the amnesty period. I also doubt that they will all leave. Many will remain but they will be caught in searches that will increase after the amnesty period ends.”
He said immigration centers dealing with the departure of illegal residents are relatively busy and there are plans to expand them to meet the expected increase.
"I also met with airline officials and explained that the number of departing flights is not enough to transport departures. We were discussing the possibility of increasing the number of departing flights to the countries of these illegal residents."
Speaking about the retinal scan that was introduced late last year as part of stepped-up security, he said, "Now we have a very advanced system. The first week was great and we were able to catch a large number of illegal immigrants and criminals." Shafar also warned the sponsors of illegal residents of harsh penalties and urged them to support this campaign by refraining from giving them work or housing.
Al-Tayer said in press statements yesterday that his ministry will intensify raids and inspection campaigns on illegal immigrants after the end of the amnesty period to ensure that none of them are left behind. But he doubted that all of them would leave.
"Many of them have paid large sums to enter the UAE and will not leave easily, and they can stay illegally in the hope that they will make as much money as possible," he said.
He added, "The expulsion of all these illegal immigrants requires intense efforts and coordination between all the competent authorities. We have been granted amnesty as a humanitarian gesture, and they should take advantage of it, otherwise they will face the consequences."
Last week, immigration authorities announced the introduction of a new survey form to be filled out by departing illegal immigrants to make sure they do not return.
The form requires them to provide details of their stay in the country, how they infiltrated it, who helped them and how they transferred money abroad.
"All departing illegal immigrants must fill out these forms necessary for our registry and procedures to ensure that they all leave and do not return," an immigration source said.
“We assure them all that this form is a routine record and will not affect the amnesty for the departing migrants. It is just to ensure that the work runs smoothly during the amnesty and to ensure that they do not consider returning, so that it does not become a waste of time.”
The form begins with a header that reads "Initial Data," including the illegal immigrant's name, age, nationality, educational level, occupation in their home country, and whether the person served in their country's military.
Another question deals with the date of entry into the UAE, the itinerary, the people in the home country contacted for assistance, the amount paid to reach the UAE, the point of entry, and whether the illegal immigrant has infiltrated the UAE before. .