Ugandan workers in UAE shun registration exercise

More than 50,000 Ugandans living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have snubbed efforts by the Ugandan embassy in Abu Dhabi to register them as part of the ongoing government efforts regularise its nationals stay in the rich Middle East country.

According to records at Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are more than 60,000 Ugandan in the UAE but only 3,000 are registered by the embassy.

Although the registration at the embassy is free, many are adamant.

Moses Kalule Kasujja, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre that in this effort, the embassy intends to get all Ugandans in UAE to benefit from the amnesty window announced by the UAE government to all Ugandan illegal immigrants.

The amnesty window which has been open since August 1 closes on October 31 after which, whoever will not have regularised their stay in UAE will be arrested and prosecuted.

“We urge all Ugandans to go to our embassy and utilize this visa amnesty period. The embassy does not deport Ugandans, the embassy is going to help them to renew their visas and stay there working instead of staying there running,” said kasujja

So far, the embassy has helped about 150 Ugandans who had over stayed their visas to have them renewed.

Kasujja also spoke of the Ugandan government engagements with the UAE government to pardon or hand over for trial locally, Ugandans who were arrested for various crimes.

Some 45 Ugandans are held in UAE prisons on crimes like drug trafficking, drinking of alcohol, kidnapping and forgery among others.

“Our embassy is aware and is working to see that may be they bring them back to be tried from here or they help them overcome these charges; we had some Ugandans who were in prison for over staying their visa, we came in we negotiated, they gave them a waiver, they renewed their visas and they are back to their duties working,” Kasujja said.

So far, a total of 41 Ugandans who were facing serious crimes like drug trafficking have been deported.

Kasujja said, at the discretion of the UAE government, those serving minor charges like over stay of their visas shall have their visas renewed and re-deployed to their work stations.