A gulf migrant who was stranded in Dubai for the last 16 years as he did not have a passport was finally reunited with his family in Telangana on Tuesday. A hefty fine of 1.46 lakh Dirhams (approximately Rs 29 lakh) was waived off by the UAE administration given its ongoing amnesty scheme launched in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neela Yellaiah, who hails from Chinthamanpalli village in Kamareddy District, had gone to UAE in 2004 to work as a laborer in a construction company. Due to unfavorable circumstances, he left the company and lived in Dubai and Sharjah for the last 16 years, doing odd-jobs.
Upon learning about Yellaiah’s plight, one Rupesh Mehta who volunteers with the ‘Jain Seva Mission’ (JSM), a social service organisation, helped him secure an emergency certificate (temporary passport) from the Indian Consulate in Dubai. According to a press release from the organisation, the issuance of the temporary passport was delayed due to the non-availability of old passport details of Yellaiah when he entered the UAE 16 years ago.
At the request of Yellaiah’s wife, the Hyderabad Passport Office searched for the old passport (2004) details in their database. The details were shared with the Consulate General of India (CGI), Dubai which made it easier to issue temporary Passport. Jitender Singh Negi and Harjeet Singh Labour Consuls at CGI, Dubai helped in this regard. The consulate also provided a free air ticket from Dubai to Hyderabad, said the statement.
As per the UAE immigration regulations, all those with an expired visa and residing illegally face an overstay fine of 25 UAE Dirhams (Rs.500) per day. In Yellaiah’s case, he would have had to pay up 1.46 Lakh Dirhams (approximately Rs.29 Lakhs) as a penalty for 16 years.
After deliberations from the social worker in collaboration with the Indian Consulate, this sum was waived off and an exit permit (immigration out pass) to leave the UAE was issued to him. The short term amnesty that started on May 18 for three months has now been extended till November 17.
After arriving in Hyderabad on late Monday night, the 48-year-old was welcomed by E Chittibabu, the officer-in-charge of the state’s NRI cell. Considering his physical and emotional situation, and on request of family members, he was permitted ‘home quarantine’. Along with wife Rajavva and other family members, Yellaiah reached his native village on Tuesday. Yellaiah’s daughter, a new-born when he had left for the Gulf, is now a mother herself.
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