Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A costly amnesty for Ethiopian expats?

(Jan 30, 2013, Khaleej Times)--Some Ethiopian illegal workers say their consulate has charged them thousands of dirhams for an outpass allowing them to leave the UAE during a two-month amnesty without penalty - something the Consul-General puts down to confusion.

KT photos by Juidin Bernarrd
Ethiopian Consul-General Mesganu Arga Moach said the most it should cost anyone to leave the country was Dh78, if they already had a passport - though renewal would be another Dh300. 

However, Ethiopian citizens spoken to by Khaleej Times say they had been asked to pay up to Dh4,000, including Dh550 for a bond to build a dam on the Nile river, Dh490 for passport renewal, Dh270 for a community card and Dh25 for typing.

Cargo company salesman Tsfy said he had paid US$500 in bond money, which was expected to be returned in five years’ time. He said he thought the consulate assumed Ethiopians based in the UAE were richer and could afford to pay a big bond.

One maid, Eddis Kebeedda, said she was so concerned about the high charges that she prefered to face police penalties for being an overstayer, rather than go through her government to leave during the amnesty. Fellow maids Sara and Hadija said during the last amnesty in 2007, they got their passports and outpasses for free, but when this amnesty started, the consulate had decided to try to exploit it to make money. Read more from Khaleej Times »

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