UAE, July 15: Thousands of Nepali migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are likely to be affected as the UAE government introduced new visa rules earlier this week.
All migrant workers are set to be affected as the UAE government enforced new rules from Sunday against its earlier decision to automatically renew visa until December, exempt all applicable fines and extend the expiry date of all government identity cards until December in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The new rule that has already come into effect requires anyone on a visit visa to leave the country by August 12 if their current visa expired earlier on March 1. Those who do not want to leave the country have to extend the date by paying applicable tax and fine amount.
Those who are on resident visas also have to get their visas extended within a month from July 12 if their visas expired in March and April. The resident visa holders, whose visa term expires after July 11, should apply for a process to acquire a new visa.
If one fails to renew his/ her visa or leave the UAE within the stipulated deadline, he/she is liable to the fines as per the UAE’s immigration law. As per the law, Rs 4,000 to 9,000 will be fined for the first day, while Rs 800 to 3,000 will be charged per day from the second day.
Nepali migrant workers, who lost their jobs or remain unpaid for months or those rendered ‘illegal’ due to visa expiry, are likely to be affected badly with the enforcement of new visa rules.
Vice Chairman of Non-Resident Nepalese Association (NRNA), UAE Chapter, Pasang Sherpa said as many as 50,000 Nepalis are left unpaid since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. “A few of them have been looked after by the respective employers, while many others have been neglected,” said Sherpa.
Meanwhile, the NRNA has drawn the attention of the Nepal Government in this regard. Issuing a statement on Tuesday, the umbrella organization of non-resident Nepalis living in various parts of the world urged the government to resume regular international as well as rescue flights for the time being so that the stranded Nepalis will not have to be subjected to any punishment due to visa related issues. “Those who have already lost their jobs can not pay such a huge amount of money in fine. It is therefore important for the government to increase the number of rescue flights at the earliest,” said the statement.
The Nepalis Embassy in Abu Dhabi, however, is reluctant to address the issues of migrant workers. The Embassy has been repeatedly criticized for not receiving phone calls and its inability to take any proactive initiatives to resolve the issues. Nepali migrant workers also complained that they are even restricted from entering into the embassy.