UAE begins 3-month visa amnesty program for foreign workers

The United Arab Emirates has begun a three-month visa amnesty program for foreign workers who are fined daily for overstaying their permits but prevented from leaving until they pay the penalties. The government expects “thousands” of people, primarily laborers from countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines, to take advantage of the amnesty launched on Wednesday. It’s the fifth general amnesty since 1996. More than 60,000 people took advantage of the last one in 2013, AP reported. Under the program, all fines for overstaying visas will be forgiven and people will be allowed to return to the UAE on new visas without preconditions – a nod to the country's need for foreign workers.