A report published by Emirates News Agency today on the “Protect Yourself By Changing Your Status” Initiative, which started from August 1st and continues until October 31, which enables violators of the Entry and Residency Law of foreigners before 1/8/2018 to change their status and to take advantage of the merits and exemptions it offers, that the UAE has established happiness as a way of life and has been keen to provide a decent life for its citizens and residents, in light of UAE’s wise leadership vision, which believes that investing in happiness is an investment in security, peace, and coexistence among the peoples.
It was mentioned in the report that the “Protect Yourself By Changing Your Status” Initiative launched by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship was a confirmation of this approach and in accordance with the directives of the leadership to make everyone living in UAE happy.
ICA revealed that the requests to benefit from the UAE Cabinet Decree to grant the citizens of countries suffering from wars and disasters one-year residency are being processed according to simple procedures through the e-channel at the “Tasheel” printing offices, without the need to check with ICA’s centres for violators, as they will obtain a complete exemption from relevant restrictions. They will also exempt violators from fines, emphasizing that this category will be allowed to work only if the sponsorship has been transferred to the employer.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Brigadier Saeed Rakan Al Rashidy, Acting Director-General of Foreigners Affairs and Ports at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, said that the “Protect Yourself By Changing Your Status” Initiative reflects the keenness of the UAE government to settle the status of violators, by enabling them to avoid legal repercussions of their violations. He pointed out that the violators can take advantage of this priceless opportunity to leave the state voluntarily without bearing any legal consequences or payment of any penalties or to change their status to live legally in UAE and utilize the services provided by the state.
He said that this initiative is distinguished from the previous initiatives that were organized in the past years; as it gives the violator who voluntarily applies to change his status the opportunity to be exempted from the resulting penalties and to leave the state naturally without inserting his name in the ban list, the matter which enables him to come back to the state with a new visa according to the applicable procedures.
Regarding the virtual labour market, which is part of the initiative, he said “this Initiative provides the possibility of getting temporary residency without a sponsor for six months through virtual labor market system, which allows job seekers, employers, and employment agencies to cooperate under supervision of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and conclude labor and employment contracts.
He added, “The initiative allows for payment of the absconding from sponsor report and to leave without the ban seal, allows persons who entered the state through unofficial ports to leave the state and banning them from entry for two years, as well as allowing the transfer of residency visa for those wishing to change their status without fines and simple fees.”
Centers for Receiving Violators
As for the Centers for receiving violators to settle their status: He explained that ICA has established nine centers nationwide to receive the violators f Residency Law, which include a center in Al Shahama – Abu Dhabi and a center in Al Aweer in Dubai. Reception centers have been established in Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Al Ain, Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi annexed to Customer Happiness Centers related to the General Directorate of Foreigners Affairs and Ports.
He said that the reception centers operate from 8 am to 8 pm from Sunday to Thursday, and a call center was established to receive questions and queries from the public via the toll-free (80080), which is available 24 hours a day.
The period spent to settle the status of violators
Brigadier Al-Rashidi said about the period spent to settle the status of the violator that if the required documents are completed, the transaction period will not exceed two working days during which the status of the violator will be changed and given approval to work in case of the availability of job opportunity and sponsor, or a permit to leave the country if he wishes to leave.
He added “the documents required to benefit from the initiative are the passport and the unified number, if he has a previous entry visa or residency visa, and documents which prove the existence of a new sponsor, medical fitness certificate for who those who need to change their status, transfer their residency or get a new residency visa and a ticket to their home for those who wish to leave the state. Violators who do not have identification papers must review their embassies to extract the required documents that allow them to take advantage of this opportunity”.
Citizens of countries suffering from wars and disasters
As for the mechanism of benefiting from the Decree of the Cabinet to grant residency visa for one year for the citizens of the countries suffering from wars and disasters. He said that this Decree clearly reflects the UAE’s keenness to help the grieved and provides assistance to all the needy people. He also affirms its keenness to provide stability and a decent life for all who live on its land and reflect the original values on which the UAE was founded. Under this Decree, citizens of the countries suffering from disasters or wars will be granted residency visa for one year, with full exemption from the residency requirements applied in ICA, as well as exempting their violators from fines.”
He added that the procedures related to this category are carried out according to the usual method through the e-channel provided by ICA through the printing offices “TASHEEL” without the need to check with ICA’s centres for violators, emphasising that this category will be allowed to work only if the sponsorship has been transferred to the employer.
He said that in order to facilitate the procedures of transactions of those wishing to take advantage of the grace period and completion quickly, ICA has worked to divide the places that the violators can visit to change their status into two sections. The first section is the reception centers of the violators, which reached 9 centers all over the state, and will issue exit permits to the violators, remove the absconding circulars and grant those wishing to stay a temporary residency visa for 6 months.
He added: “The sponsors who wish to renew the residency visa of their sponsored violators, in addition to the nationals of the countries suffering from disasters or wars, shall go directly to “TASHEEL” centers to complete their transactions. He invited the sponsors and employers to quickly go to these centers to take advantage of the initiative to change the status of their sponsored violators.
Brigadier Al-Rashadi affirmed that the centers set by ICA to receive violators of Entry and Residency Law for Foreigners since the start of the “Protect Yourself By Changing Your Status” Initiative on August 1st witnessed a great attendance of violators of the Residency Law who wish to benefit from the grace period until the end of next October. Their wishes were varied from those who wish to obtain permits to leave the country and do not bear any legal consequences, fees, or fines or to those who wish to change their status by applying for a temporary residency visa without a sponsor for six months and searching for work through virtual labor market system, which allows job seekers, employers, and employment agencies to cooperate under supervision of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and conclude labor and employment contracts.
He stressed that all cases were handled with ease, in terms of making settlements, granting exemptions, and issuing permits according to each case in accordance with the regulations in force in this regard. many cases have been handled and from different nationalities who have been violating the Law for many years and a large number of cases for whole families who are in violation and the necessary actions were smoothly made.
He added that “cases of the elderly and patients were received and stress was made on giving them special treatment and accelerate the completion of their transactions. Many cases of domestic workers were received who have been filed against them absconding reports and all cases were handled, while the security suspects were transferred to the competent authorities”.
He pointed out that the centers have also received many of the violators who do not have identification papers, who were directed to visit their embassies and consulates in the state to extract the necessary papers.
Al Rashidi thanked all those concerned with the implementation of the “Protect Yourself by Changing Your Status” Initiative and the partners who contributed to the efforts of ICA to give success to this initiative and to overcome all obstacles to achieve the objectives of the initiative and solve the problem of every violator, whether a resident, a visitor or a stumbling family regardless of nationality, by lifting the burden of the financial fine, exempt them from legal punishment and allow them to search for work or departure with dignity to his country and without any impediments, consequences or deprivation.
Beneficiaries of the initiative
Therefore, during a tour by WAM in the reception center in Al-Shahamah, Abu Dhabi, beneficiaries of the initiative expressed their deep thanks to UAE for this pioneering humanitarian initiative, which reflects the state’s approach of caring for all who live on its land without discrimination.
Shafee Ahmed Khater Bekheet, a beneficiary thanked the UAE government for the initiative, which, he said, reflects the tolerance of the UAE’s leadership and people. He stressed that it is a great opportunity for all violators in the UAE to change their status. He praised the great facilities in the process of finalizing the procedures of violators thanks to the excellent organization carried out by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
Seham Mohamed said that “Protect Yourself… By Changing Your Status” Has brought happiness to many families by exempting them from any financial burdens incurred by them in exchange for changing their status by simple procedures. she pointed out that such an initiative reflects the UAE’s humanitarian approach and the care for ensuring decent life for all residents.
The ideal environment for a decent life
Ahmed Fathy stressed that the presence of more than 200 nationalities in UAE is not that easy, but thanks to the ideal environment for the decent life, security, and goodness felt by all residents. He stressed that the UAE is a source of love and giving for all humanity.
Flexibility of procedures
He thanked the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship for the flexible procedures that are made to end the transactions of violators. He pointed out that the employees of the centers exerted great efforts to provide convenience to the visitors during the completion of their transactions.