India accused of 'cashing in' on poor UAE amnesty seekers with Dh69 service fee

Associations write petitions to Indian PM to waive fees

Indian community associations in the UAE have objected to a decision by the Indian Government to charge a service fee from expatriates planning to leave the UAE under the latest amnesty scheme announced by the UAE.

While the UAE Government is waiving liabilities due from these illegal migrants, stuck in the country without a job or legal papers, the Indian Government will charge a Dh69 service charge from each amnesty applicants.

A Dh 9 fee is also to be paid to a private firm outsourced to handle the amnesty applicants.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, YA Raheem, President, Indian Association, an organisation that has been helping distressed Indian workers and families said, “It is inhuman to collect any money from these ill-fated Indian citizens who are applying for out-passes.”

In a memorandum submitted to Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, the association stated: “It is shocking to note that last time only Dh 20 was charged as fees or service charge from amnesty applicants for issuing an Emergency Certificate (out pass). But this time the fees is hiked to Dh 60.

“It is inhuman to collect any service charge or fee from these ill-fated Indian citizens for outpass.”

He added that the government should direct the Indian Consulate and Indian Embassy to utilise the unused corpus of funds from the ICWF Fund.

“Millions of dirhams are collected by the Indian government from the workers for using consular services” said Raheem, adding that other Indian associations should also speak out against this plan to levy service charges on amnesty seekers.

The association expects between 70,000 to 100,000 Indians to make use of the latest amnesty scheme and by charging Dh 69 from each applicant, between Dh 4.5 million to Dh 5 million will go to the Indian Government coffers.

Dubai Art Lovers Association (DALA), another leading community association representing the Keralite community in the UAE has also submitted a memorandum to the Indian Government opposing the Dh69 fee, Mathukutty K, President, DALA said, “It is unfortunate that Dh 69, equivalent to Indian Rupees 1,000 is being charged from amnesty seekers who are primarily poor.”

The Kerala Government has announced its plan to help amnesty seekers by offering 10,000 free air tickets to the amnesty seekers and other state governments, especially Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Bengal, are also expected to offer free tickets to amnesty seekers as well.


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