By Fahim Muyingo
The Government of the United Arab Emirates has provided a humanitarian offer of free tickets to all Ugandans who are stranded in the region, allowing them to come back home.
This follows an engagement between the government of Uganda and that of the United Arab Emirates where discussions were held concerning the lives of Ugandans living and working in the Middle East.
A report provided by officials from the embassy of Uganda in the United Arab Emirates revealed that the majority of the stranded Ugandans in UAE are those who travelled from Uganda illegally and those who overstayed beyond their tourism and visit visas.
At a press conference held at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, the minister of gender, labour, and social development Betty Amongi Ongom said registration is going on at Al Awir migration centre in Dubai.
She added that over 452 Ugandans have already registered for the program; however, this number only represents those who travelled legally through migration agencies from Uganda.
The minister also noted that Ugandans who went through visit and tourism visas but overstayed in UAE beyond their given period will be forgiven the extra fines charged by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
However, Ugandans with criminal records will have to serve punishments for the crimes they committed while in the United Arab Emirates.
The minister cited some of the channels through which Ugandans can use under the labour externalization program. These included approval from the ministry and through a licensed recruitment agency.
Government looks forward to hiring legal experts in UAE to represent Ugandan workers who may need legal services while in United Arab Emirates. The minister said these legal personnel are experts in Sharia Law which is used in the majority of Middle East countries.
Minister Amongi highlighted the government’s initiative to design a monitoring system which will respond to outcries and delayed responses of distressed calls by Ugandan workers in the United Arab Emirates.
According to the ministry, between 300, 000 to 500, 000 Ugandans are in the Middle East both illegally and legally. Amongi said only 200, 000 Ugandans have gone through legal procedures to work in UAE.