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Oman gives clearance to overstaying Indians

More than 10,000 Indians whose visas had expired will now be able to take advantage of the offer.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2005 22:23 IST

In a first such country-specific gesture, Oman has given clearance to a large number of Indians overstaying in the sultanate after their visas had expired to leave without paying any fine or penalty.

The number of Indians who will be able to take advantage of the offer is about 10,000.

Indian Ambassador to Oman Ashok Kumar Attri thanked the Oman government for its gesture that came during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan.

He said: "I express my personal gratitude to and deep respect for His Majesty's government on bestowing such a brilliant gift to the poor Indian workers who came on employment visas but have ended up with expired visas or expired labour cards."

The Indian embassy had Feb 28 submitted a list of 5,089 Indian expatriates who had overstayed and had volunteered to return to their country. This list comprises those with expired employment visas.

"The matter has been under the consideration of the government of Oman for some time," said Attri, adding that discussions were held with the Indian embassy.

In the Gulf countries, amnesties for illegal foreign workers are a regular practice but it is for the first time that a country-specific amnesty plan has been drawn up.

Appealing to those eligible to return, Attri urged them to "re-establish contact with the Indian embassy in order to complete the procedures required for their return to their homeland".

He said the embassy had requested those Indians whose names were in the list to come with their passport, labour card, air ticket and other information so that their cases could be processed and referred to the Oman government to facilitate their departure.

Oman's ministry of manpower, in an advertisement in local Arabic newspapers, gave the names of the first list of 1,324 such Indians and their Omani sponsors.

It advised the sponsors to convey if they had any claims or cases against the Indians concerned.

First Published: Oct 26, 2005 13:20 IST