The UAE is planning tougher rules to issue visit and tourist visas after finding most illegal residents taking part in the current amnesty had exploited the system, according to reports.
The country launched its first amnesty in more than five years earlier this month, allowing illegal residents to correct their status or leave the country without having to pay fines until October 31.
The lenient terns have seen some families with millions of dirhams of fines take the chance to rectify their residency status at centres across the country.
However, Gulf News reports that the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has also found that many of the violators taking part had entered the country on visit and tourist visas and were involved in dangerous crimes.
It told the media on Monday that this meant more stringent measures were needed to prevent similar offences in the future, according to the publication.
Under the plans, the country is introducing a three- to six-month job seekers visa and eyeing new conditions for visit and tourist visas such as a security deposit.
It will also ask foreign embassies to bear the cost of flying their citizens home for overstaying in the UAE.
Inspection campaigns are planned after October 31 to catch any remaining illegal residents and workers who did not take advantage of the amnesty.
Those caught will face large fines and deportation, while companies employing undocumented workers will pay Dhs50,000 ($13,612) per worker, doubling to Dhs100,000 ($27,224) for a repeat offence, officials were quoted as saying.
“We are trying to help such people. But if we don’t take tough measures these people will stay here further [without any documents],” a government legal advisor said, according to the publication.
Under the current amnesty, visa violators and absconders will be able to move to another employer or a new jobseekers visa category without having to leave the country.
People in these categories that choose to leave the UAE during the period will also be exempt from fines and fees and won’t receive a no-entry stamp.
In addition, those that entered the UAE illegally have the opportunity to leave the country and only receive a two-year ban before they can return.