NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
ADNRD not responsible for air bookings
ABU DHABI — JUL 13:The Abu Dhabi Naturalistion and Residency Department (ADNRD) is not responsible for the problems and delay in air ticket bookings during the amnesty period, according to ADNRD Director Col. Nassir Al Awadi Al Menhali.
“I do not think that the amnesty period would be extended. The period is enough if the sponsors and illegals are really serious in regularising the status or if the workers prefer to leave the country,” said Col. Al Menhali.
The ADNRD is ready to handle the rush as 600 illegals approach the department every day for assistance in amnesty formalities. “The air ticket booking is the responsibility of the countries’ embassies here. Hence, the labour attaché of each embassy should coordinate with the airlines to organise air passage,” said Captain Yousef Al Zaabi from ADNRD administration.
A source at ADNRD said 97 per cent of the illegal workers coming to the ADNRD are from Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE Nazimullah Chowdhury said, “We need police help during the amnesty, particularly on Sundays and Mondays because the workers come to the embassy to complete formalities in large numbers.”
A source in state-owned Bangladeshi carrier, Biman, said the airline is planning to increase the number of flights, if necessary.
Lakass Manan, Abu Dhabi branch manager of Air India Express, said, “We are waiting for the approval to give discounts to amnesty-seekers.”
Working woman entitled for HRA even if husband gets it
ABU DHABI - JUL 13: A working woman is entitled to housing allowance even if her husband is receiving the same from his company, according to a new fatwa issued by the Department for Fatwa and Legislations at the Ministry of Justice.
However, the distance between the workstations of the husband and wife should be a minimum of 100km.
The Department has clarified this position in response to a query from a government body which had sought legal opinion on the matter.
The Department, in its reply, noted that as per Article 4 of Law No. 16 for the year 1976 regarding accommodation allowance for employees, both husband and wife deserve a housing allowance if they both are working with federal or local government bodies, or public establishments and partially government-owned companies.
Spend more time behind wheels for a driving licence
DUBAI — JUL 13:Enrolled in a driving institute in Dubai? Take it easy! The wait could be long for beginners to get behind the steering.
Reason: the closure of private driving institutes and the gap between road tests for learners now being 30 days. The long gap has resulted in two spin-offs.
First: one needs to wait for at least 50-60 days just to get started.
Second: once the learner gets into the groove (not taking into account the learning period), it could take him/her at least six months to get a licence, even if he/she has managed to pull it off in the first or even the second attempt.
Customers complain that from the time one enrolls in an institute till the classes start and the test dates given, applicants have to wait for their turns for at least a few months.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, an applicant Ramya Kannan said, “I hold an Indian licence, which is more than two years’ old. Hence, I have to take only 20 classes. However, I was told after enrolling in July that I would have to wait for about 45 days before classes begin. After that it would take a while before I am given a test date. If I clear it in my first attempt, I would be lucky. Otherwise, I would have to wait for 30 days for another test.”
Even if applicants do manage to start classes immediately after enrollment, getting a date for road tests could take a long time. For instance, Indian Shahid Kapoor enrolled and completed his driving classes in April, but is yet to get a date for a road test. “I joined Dubai Driving Centre in March and started classes immediately. I passed the assessment test and the signal test in June. But now, I have to wait till August to take my road test,” said Kapoor.
Emirates Driving Institute told Khaleej Times that getting a licence was indeed time-consuming. “Before January 2007, we could conduct weekly tests for those who failed the road test. But, now Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has increased the waiting period between each road test to 30 days,” pointed out Fatma Raees, marketing manager of the institute.
Belhasa Driving School said one of the reasons was that there is a huge demand for people to learn driving. “We get a lot of applications and there is a huge list of students who haven’t got their licence yet. The main problem is in the testing process,” said Haresh Vaswani, GM of marketing and advertising.
Institutes also reasoned that with RTA shutting down small private operators, they are faced with a sudden surge in the number of applicants.
Many institutes have received complaints from people and have informed RTA. “We can only hope that they consider reducing the number of days between tests. That is the only way we can handle this huge demand,” an official, who didn’t want to be named, said from a driving institute.
Confused amnesty-seekers run from pillar to post
DUBAI — JUL 13: Illegals waiting to be repatriated to their respective countries are complaining that they are being forced to run from pillar to post before they get the clearance from Immigration authorities.
Even some of the diplomatic missions say that they have not received any clear guidelines from the Ministry of Labour or the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) regarding the immigration procedures.
Ramsingh. S from Rajasthan, India said, “I have gone to the immigration three times. But I was told to come back with a confirmed ticket and when I went back I was told I needed a passport.”
Even consulates pointed out that there was no clarity in the exact procedures.
Rais Hasan, Bangladeshi Vice-Consul in Dubai, said the mission had not received any kind of circular from the Ministry of Labour or the Immigration with regard to immigration procedures. “We are not sure of the exact documentation needed. Many Bangladeshi nationals were coming to the consulate with complaints that the Immigration officials were not cooperative. There are people who have come to us and we are trying to help them. He added that they had approached the concerned officials to find out the exact procedures.
Consul Vicente Vivencio Bandillo from Philippine Consulate-General in Dubai also confirmed that the mission had not received any official circular from the DNRD regarding amnesty guidelines. “The lack of an official set of guidelines has somehow brought confusion to amnesty-seekers. We can’t give clear information about the amnesty or the supposed penalties because we, too, are not very clear about the procedures. When an amnesty-seeker asks us for clarification, we can’t give definite answers,” Bandillo admitted.
The Philippine consulate, however, has managed to direct its nationals on how to go about filing the amnesty applications by sending their own consular staff to officially inquire with DNRD.
Sri Lankan Consul-General Wasantha Senanayake, however, pointed out that Immigration authorities in Dubai were definitely more cooperative than those in Sharjah, where ambiguities were many.
But B.S. Mubarak, spokesperson of Indian consulate, pointed out, “Only if there are no confirmed tickets or relevant documents, the Immigration authorities ask the people to come back.”
Sharjah - Patrols increased
Sharjah - Jul 13: Police have stepped up patrols at Sharjah Open beaches following a recent spate of drownings and rescue operations, officials said. Khameez Mohammed bin Taliyah, first lieutenant with the Ambulance and Rescue Unit of Sharjah Police, said at least two people drowned at the beach last month while six others were rescued by lifeguards.
He added that the police have intensified rescue operations following a number of accidents. The most recent incident involved a 12-year-old boy who drowned after he drifted away from his parents on Tuesday. Police were unable to confirm the incident or release any details.