Over-stayers start availing Govt Amnesty offer
September 01 2016 09:56 PM
The Search and Follow Up Department office. PICTURE: MoI.
The Search and Follow Up Department office. PICTURE: MoI.

Illegal residents in Qatar began approaching the Ministry of Interior's (MoI) Search and Follow Up Department office in their bid to leave the country without facing any legal consequences as the three-month grace period for amnesty seekers came into effect.

It is understood that not many amnesty seekers reported to the office. MoI sources attributed the low turnout to the extreme heat and prevailing high airfares, with the latter preventing those wishing to seek amnesty from buying their exit ticket, a mandatory requirement.

There would be more amnesty seekers once the ticket rates fall, it is expected. Since the grace period runs until December 1, many potential beneficiaries could be waiting for the weather to improve.

Most of those who reached the Search and Follow Up Department office were identified as expatriates from among the country's South Asian, Arab and African nationalities.

The MoI officials, it is understood, received and processed the documents submitted to the office by the amnesty seekers, and started making efforts to clear them on a first come first served basis, depending on the merit of every case. Arrangements are being made on a war footing to ensure the exit of the illegal residents within three days of submitting such documents as a valid passport, an open ticket or a reserved ticket after three days from the date of submitting the application, out passes issued by embassies in the absence of passport, ID Card or copy of the entry visa among others.

Meanwhile, the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) held a meeting to accelerate its efforts to ensure the exit from the country of the illegal residents from the Indian expatriate community.

Indian embassy has estimated that there are about 6,000 to 8,000 of its nationals in Qatar without proper visa documents. The meeting was chaired by deputy chief of mission R K Singh. Second Secretary & ICC Coordinating Officer K S Dhiman, ICC president Girish Kumar, Management Committee Members, some of the representatives of the community forums, and members of ICC affiliated organisations attended. Singh reassured the embassy's wholehearted support to the Qatar government initiative and those wanting to avail of the amnesty.

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