Over 75000 Ugandans staying in UAE illegally; risk deportation, says gov’t Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Simon Mundeyi .
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has revealed that over 75000 Ugandans are staying in United Arab Emirates illegally.
“There are over 100,000 Ugandans living in UAE and of these, only 25000 went through licensed recruitment agencies. We have over 75000 Ugandans who were taken to UAE to secure employment but through fraudulent companies that are only looking for money. These are in UAE fraudulently and illegally,” the ministry spokesperson, Simon Mundeyi told journalists on Monday.
He explained that most of the 75000 are either taken to Middle East by non-registered companies or went on their own with a hope of finding employment in the sand dune country.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson said many of these have since been found on the wrong side of the law in UAE for not having up to date work visas.
“Majority travel on their own accord and decide to look for odd jobs whereas others were trafficked by unscrupulous labour agents who promise them good jobs only to reach there and engaged in odd jobs without work visas. Their passports are retained and subjected to abuse due circumstances beyond their control.”
“Once they reach UAE they report to their agents who keep them in some dormitories or hostels also known as Biyumba. Once they start living there, agents start taking them out to do some odd jobs including prostitution and money that accrues is paid to agents.”
Mundeyi noted that recently the UAE government accepted to issue a waiver to 1500 Ugandan immigrants who were living in the country illegally.
He explained that this was as a result of negotiations between the Ugandan and UAE governments, noting that these are some of the Ugandans who have since been helped to return home.
“This return is due to coordination efforts by government through ministries of gender, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Finance as well as government of UAE. The over 160 who returned over the weekend are part of the 1500 who are set to benefit from the waiver.”
According to Mundeyi, if any foreigner is found staying illegally in any country, they are subjected to a fine before they are deported, adding that the same process was to be undergone by Ugandans who were in UAE illegally but noted the waiver will see them not penalized.
“There are those who are still staying illegally in UAE but once the grace period of one month elapses after October, they will be fined and later returned home.”
He however urged all Ugandans wishing to work in Middle East to go through licenced labour recruitment companies to avoid being found on the wrong side of the law.
Last week, government returned home 156 Ugandans who had travelled to United Arab Emirates for greener pastures. These returned home in two batches that arrived at Entebbe International Airport on Friday and Saturday.
Last week, the UAE government announced it had slapped a visa ban on Ugandans and 20 other nationalities seeking to visit Dubai with immediate effect.