Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Jul 22 18, 4:10 pm

PH Ambassador to the UAE arrives in Abu Dhabi

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To stay without fear: 3 OFWs hope to avail of UAE amnesty scheme

by | TOP STORIES

The last UAE general immigration amnesty benefited 61,826 expats of different nationalities. Mikee, Albert and Dannah are only a handful among those who hope to be granted the amnesty this year. The Philippine Consulate is also forming a special team to assist them with the process.

Mikee had a stable life: she was a successful web developer earning Dh5000 a month, and was able to bring her husband and son to Dubai. She went abroad to build a life for herself but her fate changed when she received a call bearing bad news from her mom in the Philippines. Being a daddy’s girl, Mikee was crestfallen when her father was diagnosed with end stage renal disease.

Since then, she supported the maintenance medication and dialysis of her father, but it came to a point that her salary could no longer suffice. She decided to acquire some financial loans here and there—from her friends, from a finance company, and even to a loan shark. The difficult year left her Dh130,000 to pay excluding the interest. The lender asked for her husband and son’s passports as collateral for the loan. Every centavo she borrowed went to her father’s dialysis.

“I had no choice, it’s my father. I don’t mind drowning in liabilities as long as it extends my daddy’s life.” An emotional Mikee told The Filipino Times.

Her prayers were heard because her father outlived the time limit given by the doctors. Mikee had a temporary relief but a new problem paved her way.

Crippled by debts and with no legal documents, her son has not attended school in 4 years and only finished third grade.

“Of course it’s difficult. I just tutor him at home since I don’t have anything else to do.”

Mikee also quit her job because she was being tracked down by the finance company. They moved from house to house as her friends declined to offer them shelter for long term. Her visa expired in 2016 and that gave her one more reason to hide.

Mikee now prays for her family’s stay to be legalized through the visa amnesty of UAE.

Gadgets come at a price

The most difficult thing about being an events manager is the memories they bring, said Albert.

Every time he handles a wedding or a birthday celebration, it just makes him miss his family more. But Albert endured working away because of his salary of Dh10,000 per month. His only reward for himself is buying the latest gadgets.

“Bale yun na lang yung libangan ko kesa naman magbisyo ako,” Albert told the TFT.

He loaned Dh150,000 from the bank to buy a house in Canada where his wife and daughter are citizens. He was able to pay for two years but could not continue due to his company’s bankruptcy.

In short, Albert lost his job. With three maxed out credit cards, and a debt to the bank, he had to go off the grid and avoid authorities.

One night, because of his flashy gadgets, he was held-up at gunpoint resulting in the lost of his bag which contained his passport and money.

Albert had to sell all of his gadgets to survive. To date, he has been overstaying his visa for two years.

“Gusto ko na makasama yung pamilya ko sa Canada. Sana ito na yung huling taon na magtatago ako… Kasi di biro na malayo pamilya mo e, walang support,” he said.

Confessions of a shopaholic

Dannah was lucky enough to land in a good-paying managerial post in a company in Dubai, earning as much as Dh6,000 per month, Dannah seemed to have secured a comfortable future for herself and her family in the Philippines. But a taste of independence sent her down the road of shopping addiction, resulting in a very tiny savings account.

In 2013, Dannah bought a designer bag as a gift for herself after receiving her first paycheck. Little did she notice that one bag led to a purchase of another. One day she is buying a bag, the next day she is buying shoes. In two years, Dannah managed to collect fill in her entire closet, some of them were not even worn.

Due to her addiction, Dannah was not able to save any money, which could not have been a big deal for her until her father was diagnosed with lung cancer and hypertension. Her sister, who works as a teacher in a private school in the Philippines, called to let her know that their father needed to undergo multiple operations and chemotherapy, which would entail a lot of money.

“I was so scared for my father but at the same time, I have no money to give. At that time I was just ashamed. I decided to loan money from my friends here,” Dannah said.

Dannah loaned Dh140,000 from her workmate for her father’s operation. To make sure that Dannah would pay for her loan, her officemate asked for her passport so she could not escape.

Two years have passed and Dannah was able to pay off her debt. While she felt relieved, she failed to renew her visa because she pawned her papers in exchange of the loan. She was not able to return to the Philippines before her visa expired and now she is forced to stay as an illegal resident.

Dannah is hopeful that the upcoming amnesty program would be the solution to her problem

The last general immigration amnesty in the UAE benefited 61,826 expats of different nationalities. Mikee, Albert and Dannah are only a handful among hundreds who hope to be granted the amnesty this year. The Philippine Consulate is also forming a special team to assist them with the process.

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With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

FOLLOW US

SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTER

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