An Indian expatriate, who had gone home last month under the amnesty scheme for illegal residents, returned to the UAE on Monday on a visit visa but was detained at Sharjah Airport for 24 hours and deported with a life ban.
Peter, an accountant who had overstayed in the UAE for a few years after his company was closed down, went to India through the amnesty scheme announced by the UAE Interior Ministry. He was one of the first applicants to avail of the amnesty scheme and had a valid passport, though his visa had expired.
An amnesty scheme was announced by the UAE Interior Ministry in November 2012 that allowed illegal residents to leave the country without paying any fine from December 4, 2012 to February 3, 2013. The two-month amnesty period ends next week.
More than 40,000 illegal workers have already applied for the amnesty scheme. Illegal residents availing of the amnesty and leaving the UAE have their fingerprints and iris scan taken.
Speaking live to India’s NTV channel, Peter said he had travelled to India ten days after gettting an outpass and returned exactly one month later, thinking that there was no ban and that he could get a new job or collect some money due from creditors.
After landing at the airport, he was stopped by immigration officials and was sent back with a life ban.
He had obtained a UAE online visit visa through a Dubai-based travel agency.
Speaking just before being deported to Kochi, Peter said: “I was keen to avail of the amnesty scheme in the first week itself. I could not go home because I had no money to pay the fine for overstaying. I was keen to come back here and search of a new job. I was told by a leading advocate that there is no problem in coming back after one month. A travel agent in Dubai issued me a visit visa too.
“But when I came back after one month, I was stopped at the Passport Control of Sharjah Airport. I spent one day inside the airport,” Peter said.
However, he was not allowed to go out of the airport and was deported to India, social workers who helped the stranded man said.
“He was working here as an accountant and his company had closed down. His visa was not renewed and he had overstayed in the UAE for quite some time. When the amnesty scheme was announced, he took an outpass and returned to India,” said Nikhil, who ho helped the stranded man to return home.
“Before leaving the country through the amnesty scheme, he checked with legal experts whether he would be able to come back and search for a new job and try to get back some of his pending salary and payment from clients,” said Nikhil.
A lawyer, who had advised Peter, said on a TV channel’s 'live' programme: “Even if you get a new visa, verify whether you can come back to the UAE before catching the next plane to the UAE.”