Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The "Sus Laws" come to Dubai

Police to do spot checks on UAE residency visas
From Arabian Business, 3rd March '09 by Joanna Hartley

Residents should carry their visas, or a copy, at all times.

Police spot checks of residency visas are to increase as part of a UAE government crackdown on illegal immigrants, it was reported on Tuesday. Residents should carry their visas and labour cards, or copies, at all times as officers will be doing random checks on the streets of the Emirates, the Ministry of the Interior has warned, according to UAE daily The National.

However, there would be no road blocks, said Brig Gen Nasser Al Minhali, the acting director general of the federal Department of Naturalisation and Residency.

“This is not a one-time campaign but a new mission that will be entrusted to each police station to catch those living illegally in the country,“ he said. “The details will depend on each police station, but officers will be doing these random checks for documents as they patrol the streets.

The point is not to disrupt daily life, but to catch those living here illegally,” Al Minhali added.The strategy, which has seen a number of measure to stop people living int eh country illegally, also sets out a plan to set up more police stations in populated areas Al Minhali said. Iris scanning has prevented more than 300,000 deportees from re-entering the country under false names, while an amnesty for illegal workers in 2007 helped legalise the status of more than 176,000 workers.

(Despite having a UAE residence visa I've been iris scanned coming into Sharjah Airport. I was told to go and stand in a separate line, the only female, with assorted blokes from the subcontinent and a contingent of Eastern European gents none of whom appeared to have a neck and would have done any front row proud. As I approached, the guys in the line all looked at me with the same expression which said "We *know* we look dodgy, but you're a boring middle aged female whitey - they must know something about you and you must be really bad!" Like the parting of the Red Sea, they all moved away from me en masse. So there I stood, alone but giggling at the irony of the whole thing, while a group of blokes on one side of me glanced furtively (one even pointed at me) while muttering in Hindi and on the other side of me the huge Eastern Euro blokes were giving me the beady like I was a cross between a serial killer and a used car salesman with BO.)

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