Few Sri Lankans make use of UAE amnesty

Only 650 Sri Lankans have made use of the amnesty period offered by the UAE for illegal residents to either renew their travel documents or return home.

The UAE Amnesty Programme ended yesterday (Monday) and diplomatic missions reported a low turnout of amnesty seekers from their respective communities of expatriates and illegal residents in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

The Sri Lanka Consulate-General in the UAE said 650 illegal workers and residents made use of the UAE amnesty programme as compared to the more than 4,000 illegal Sri Lankans who availed themselves of the 2007 amnesty, the Khaleej Times reported.

Sri Lankan Consul-General MM Abdul Raheem said all amnesty seekers had already left Dubai though their number was very much less when compared to previous cycles of the UAE amnesty.

“We thank various Sri Lankan organisations in Dubai, who assisted our amnesty seekers by providing air tickets to those who had no way to go home. We also thank the UAE government for giving the opportunity to our nationals who got stuck in Dubai due to lack of finances to go home.”

He said that a total of 250,000 Sri Lankans live and work in UAE, 180,000 of whom are in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.