An Indian visitor presumed missing has in fact been in jail for overstaying and is being repatriated by consular services in Abu Dhabi, a senior Indian Embassy official confirmed on Tuesday.
Wasi Ahmad came to Dubai on a one-month tourist visa through an agent in India on February 9. The agent promised to provide him with an employment visa as soon as he arrived and charged him Rs80,000 (Dh4,220) but he wasn’t issued the employment visa as promised forcing him to overstay for two months.
After two months Ahmad got a job, but the employer told him they wouldn’t bear the overstay penalty charge of Dh6,000, so on the advice of friends Ahmad went to the embassy to report the agent who cheated him. The embassy took him to a police station but he was detained there for a failure to pay overstay fines and referred to Suwaihan jail.
Ahmad’s phone was taken from him while he was in jail meaning he couldn’t tell his family back home in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, what had happened.
In such cases the overstayer is usually kept in jail for a week to 10 days until the embassy can complete the repatriation process, but since Ahmad was unreachable, his family thought he had gone missing. They contacted friends they knew in Kuwait who in turn contacted people from their community in Dubai and found Saleem Javed, a friend of a friend, who approached the embassy to try and find Ahmad.
Pooja Vernekar, First Secretary at the Head of Community Affairs of the Indian Embassy, told Gulf News: “Wasi Ahmad is currently in jail for overstaying. In such cases we refer the case to the police who send them to jail. Once all legal formalities ae complete, we inform authorities and issue an air ticket.”
Vernekar confirmed Ahmad had come to the embassy and had been provided consular and financial assistance
Fake job offers from unscrupulous agents are common, said Vernekar.
They exploit people for a lot of money, she said. “Once he’s [Ahmad] repatriated, we will also write to the state government in India to take legal action against the exploiting agency,” she added.
Vernekar advised Indians to avoid coming to the UAE on a visit visa in search of work, instead telling them to arrive only through proper employment channels to avoid being exploited.