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COVID-19: Dubai waives tens of thousands of dirhams in fines for 145 Indians

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Dubai: Dubai has waived tens of thousands of dirhams in fines faced by around 145 Indians whose visas had expired before March 1, the Indian Consulate in Dubai said on Wednesday.

The waiver has been made possible by a new mechanism established through the Indian missions in the UAE for Indians wishing to avail the ongoing overstay fine waiver scheme provided by the government of the UAE.

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On July 22, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had announced the launch of the new procedures for Indians whose residence and visit visas had expired before March 1.

They were urged to avail of the opportunity given during the COVID-19 pandemic to leave the country without paying any fines until August 17.

A spokesperson of the Indian Consulate said the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has issued approvals for the first set of applications seeking fine waivers submitted by the mission. “Around 145 applications have been approved. Tens of thousands of dirhams in fines were waived for these applicants,” said Neeraj Agrawal, consul for Press, Information and Culture.

Absconders, families included

He said the applicants whose fines were waived included many who were facing absconding charges and had violated residency laws for years.

“There is one case in which the applicant’s visa had expired in 2017,” he said, pointing out that even those people living without proper documents for years can now avail the opportunity to fly home without being penalised.

Violators, who can now fly home without fines, also include some families.

The mission had submitted applications from around 800 Indians and was awaiting more applications to be processed in the next few days. “We have just received the approvals for the first batch of applications submitted in the first three days after this system was initiated. We are expecting the system to gain more momentum as the Eid holidays are over and more approvals are expected.”

Since the mission is informing the applicants about the fine waiver by calling them, he urged those who have applied to not to leave their phones unattended between 8am and 8pm.

Reach the airport earlier

Also, he urged those getting exemption from paying fines to reach the airport at least an hour earlier than the reporting time for the regular passengers since they will have to follow certain formalities at the airport as well.

Those intending to travel must submit their applications at least seven working days ahead of their intended date of travel, the Embassy had said.

Indian associations and community groups in the UAE have started help desks to assist their compatriots seeking help in submitting the application through the system.

Agrawal urged those who are yet to seek the service not to delay further in submitting their applications via email or in person.

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