Monday, January 14, 2013
By Bassma Al Jandaly
Ebado Ahmad Mohammad / Image Credit: Bassma Al Jandaly/Gulf News
Dubai: A widow’s plea to have her overstaying fines reduced during the amnesty in order to be sponsored by her new husband has been rejected by Dubai residency department — she was told either to leave the country or pay the fines.
The Somali widow, Ebado Ahmad Mohammad, has been living here illegally for almost 11 years since the death of her husband in 2001 and the expiry of her residency visa a year after her husband’s death in Djibouti.
The 43-year-old mother of two told Gulf News that she lived in Ajman with her children after the death of her husband but she was forced to take them back to her home country a year later because she was not able to take care of them any more.
Mohammad said that after the death of her husband she stayed illegally in the country to work as a housemaid to support her children and her mother back home.
“I have not seen my children since 2002, I have only talked to them over the phone. I suffered a lot in my life. I got married again in October and my husband who works in Sharjah applied in December for a residency visa for me and it was approved and we have the visa issued,” she said.
Mohammad said that in order to get the residency visa stamped on her passport she need to clear all her overstaying fines at the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, as her husband worked for a company in Dubai.
“I heard about the amnesty and I went with a friend of mine to the residency department in Dubai to apply,” she said.
Mohammad said that she told the officials at the residency department that she could only afford to pay Dh10,000.
“I was told to go to Al Aweer deportation jail because the amnesty centre is opened over there,” Mohammad added.
She said that at Al Aweer deportation centre she was informed that there was no pardon on fines and no reduction or deduction and that she should pay all her fines or she should leave the country.
“I cannot leave my husband here. I know that I will be given a life ban if I leave. Some other women applied for the amnesty when it just stared in December 4, now they are banned from retuning here,” she said.
Mohammad said that no reduction on overstaying fines was given to her by officers at the residency department.
“I cannot spend all my life as an illegal resident here. I miss my children. I lost my baby girl in 2002 who died in Ajman one year after the death of her father and my other two boys are away from me,” she said.
She said that she had spent all her life taking care of other families’ children, cleaning other people’s homes, cooking for people who were not her family members and now she thought her life was going to be better.
“I’m disappointed and I have no clue what to do and how to sort out my issue. I thought that the amnesty would help me reduce my overstaying fines but instead my issue has become more complicated,” she said.
She said her husband is from her own country and he works in the cattle market in Sharjah.
“My husband is working and he is doing well but he cannot afford more than Dh10,000. I do not need money. I just want to know what does amnesty mean,” Mohammad said.