Coronavirus: Indian consulate in Dubai launches campaign to help citizens with expired visas to return home

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Indian mission will help thousands without passports obtain emergency documents to return home

Tailor Zeeshan Javed makes a pair of trousers in his workshop with Covid protection measures in place.

A lifeguard watches over the pool with a face mask at the H Hotel in Dubai.

Rohit an employee at Century Financial sterilises a conference room.

A cleaner disinfects different surfaces at the H Hotel in Dubai.

Juno Mary Joy, manager and creative director of Stone Grey a tailoring business rearranges dresses.

A model of a transformer robot wears a mask and carries a sign saying 'Stay home' outside a shop in Ras Al Khaimah. All photos by Chris Whiteoak / The National

A hotel receptionist works behind a plastic partition at the H Hotel in Dubai.

Colleagues Deepika and Shilpa keep a safe distance at Century Financial. Employees are required to wear masks, gloves and over shoes.

Motorists get Laser based DPI tests at the Mina Rashid screening centre in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

People get Laser based DPI tests at the Mina Rashid screening centre in Dubai.

People get Laser based DPI tests at the Mina Rashid screening centre in Dubai.

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Patrick Ryan

Aug 29, 2020

August 29, 2020

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A two-month drive has been launched to help thousands of Indian citizens who hold expired visas obtain documents to leave the UAE.

The programme was announced by Dr Aman Puri, the new consul general for India in Dubai.

The UAE government had earlier announced an extension until November 17 of an amnesty waiving fines for residents whose visas had expired before March 1.

Dr Puri said thousands of Indian citizens in the UAE did not have the necessary documentation needed to book seats on repatriation flights.

The consulate has set up the scheme that will help stranded citizens get an emergency travel certificate to allow them to return home.

“The consulate will set up camps across the UAE in emirates like Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, not just Dubai, so we can bring the services to the doorsteps of the people who need help,” Dr Puri said.

“There will be thousands of Indian citizens who will be applying for the emergency certificates.”

CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Dr Puri said this was to support many Indian workers whose passports were being held by sponsors.

To date 370,000 Indians have left the UAE on repatriation flights.

More than 600,000 Indian citizens signed up to return home when the flights as part of the Vande Bharat or Salute India mission began in May.

Residents who lost jobs and those placed on unpaid leave were among those keen to get back to their families in India.

Officials said many people who had registered for the flights had decided to stay in the Emirates after businesses and stores reopened.

Emirates and Etihad announced last week they would operate extra flights to certain Indian cities.

Dr Puri praised the efforts of the UAE government on handling the Covid-19 crisis.

“The UAE is setting a fantastic example to the rest of the world,” he said.

“It has a done wonderful job in helping to revive the economy while ensuring all safety precautions are met.”

Updated: August 29, 2020 10:29 PM

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