Bangladeshi expatriates in the UAE have said high praises fot the UAE government’s visa amnesty policy, which came into effect on Wednesday. The campaign, promoted by the slogan “Protect yourself by changing your visa status,” gives expatriates who have stayed in the UAE beyond the expiry date of their visas the chance to clear up any indiscretion without incurring punishment. They can either return home or get a new visa under a different sponsor. The program even permits illegal expatriates to obtain a six-month visa allowing them to seek employment in the UAE.
“It’s a unique type of visa amnesty offered by the UAE government to foreigners,” Mohammed Imran, Bangladesh’s ambassador to the UAE, told Arab News. “Now, people are getting the opportunity to regularize their visa status.” Around 700,000 Bangladeshis currently reside in the UAE. The majority of them are labourers.
The Bangladeshi Embassy in the UAE posted news of the visa amnesty declaration on its Facebook page and, Imran said there has been “a huge response” from Bangladeshi expatriates. In just two days, he said, “we have addressed around 600 Bangladeshi people from our two offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The whole Bangladesh mission is now busy with this visa processing support and 65 dedicated staff are now working on it.”Mohammed Zahirul Islam, a Bangladeshi who works for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, told Arab News he considers the amnesty a gift and a blessing.“This amnesty program will open a new horizon to the expatriates if they can grab the opportunity in time,” he said.During the UAE’s last visa amnesty, in 2013, around 25,000 Bangladeshi expatriates took the opportunity to legalize their status. But Ambassador Imran was unwilling to speculate about whether that figure would increase this year.“It’s a little too early to comment on that after just two days,” he said. “We need a few more days to (predict) the trend.”
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