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Illegal resident amnesty extended to Dec 31, 2018: Last chance

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has announced that the amnesty for illegal residents in the United Arab Emirates will be extended further until 31 December 2018, according to Fragomen, an organization giving access to experienced immigration professionals and support around the world.

The UAE Federal initiative is called ‘Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status’.

According to the initial announcement, the amnesty was to conclude on 31 October 2018, and it was later extended until the beginning of December.

Read: 6 things you need to know about UAE’s amnesty

Recap of initiative

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship called “Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status” amnesty program, began in August 1, 2018.

Foreign nationals in violation of their legal status were initially allowed a three-month amnesty period to regularize their status by either leaving the country without paying a fine and becoming subject to a return immigration ban (unless they entered the country illegally), or by changing their sponsorship in the United Arab Emirates. Additional conditions include:

-Foreign nationals who depart the country under this program will be issued an exit permit valid for ten days.

-Those who wish to remain will have to provide documents from their new sponsor before a residence visa can be granted.

-Those without a confirmed job offer will be given a six-month temporary residence status to secure new employment in the United Arab Emirates under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

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When happens on January 1, 2019

Immigration officers will begin a campaign to identify residents who are in the UAE without a valid visa when the amnesty ends on December 31.

“The amnesty led to at least 30,000 without a valid visa coming forward in the first three months to tell the authorities they were in the country without valid documents,” said UAE daily The National.

“Many asked for new visas while others – often with huge overstay fines that were subsequently waived – returned to their home country.”

Brigadier General Saeed Rakan, acting director general for the immigration authority, said there will be inspection campaigns to catch people without valid visas.

“The campaigns will follow planned procedures and will not be random inspections stopping people on the streets,” he told The National.

“We will start applying the law against offenders but we will not stand out in public and ask people for their ID cards. We will follow legal procedures based on investigative reports.”

A search would be carried out for example if police learn of residential areas with a large illegal population or shared villas, home to those without visas.

Read: The UAE passport has surpassed all expectations

Legal residents

The UAE Cabinet approved the recently announced long-term visa system, which includes a 10-year residency visa for investors and specialists and five-year visa for exceptional students.

The decision of the Cabinet will facilitate visas for investors, entrepreneurs, specialized talents, researchers – including their spouses and children – and create an encouraging environment for the growth of business for investors, entrepreneurs and professional talents.