COVID-19: Stranded UAE residents look forward to returning home

COVID-19: Stranded UAE residents look forward to returning home

Dubai: The announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) that stranded UAE residents can return home as of June 1 has come as a huge relief for many families.

Parents of a seven-year-old British girl, Ella-Marie Jacobs, stuck in the UK for over two months said, “We finally think our daughter will come home.”

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Ella-Marie Jacobs with her parents Image Credit: Supplied

Ella-Maries’ father Thomas Jacob, who is a teacher, however, said he was not sure how soon that would be. “I went to the ICA website to register my permit application. Unfortunately I couldn’t,” he said, adding, “I am not booking my daughter’s ticket till I get the permit for her to travel.”

The message read: “Please note that the process of issuing permits is a gradual process and within specific conditions, and in case you are unable to submit the application, please try again later. We work for you and thank you for your understanding.”

A young British mother, Linda Middleton-Jennings, said she has already booked herself and her eight-month old son Lochlan on an Emirates flight from London, Heathrow for June 1 at 14.20pm. “I could not wait. My baby has not seen his father for over two months, we want to come back home to UAE.”

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Linda Middleton-Jennings with her son Image Credit: Supplied

She added that she is confident she will get the permit for her and her baby to travel back to Dubai.

Filipina expat Lampel Angelica Pangan, 33, stuck in her home country for over two months, had a concern. “The announcement clearly mentions the decision pertains to residents to reunite with their families. What about single people like me who do not have a family in the UAE? I workthere for a living. I need to come back to the UAE too as soon as possible as I could be at risk of losing my job. But I will wait my turn. I believe in the UAE leadership and I know that the government will do the right thing for all residents.”

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Filipina expat Lampel Angelica Pangan Image Credit: Supplied

Ukranian Olena Gorobets, 31, stuck in Kiev for over two months, is also a single person with no family in the UAE. She too doubts she will make it in the first lot and may have to wait for another announcement from the government to fly back to the UAE.

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Ukranian Olena Gorbets Image Credit: Supplied

“I left the UAE on March 14 for a medical emergency. My return was booked for March 21 but things changed in the UAE. I have been working remotely and my salary has been cut due to the COVID-19 situation. My family depends on my income. Hope the government considers the plight of single people like us working in the UAE.”

In the case of Pakistani expat Hassan Ali, aged 32,wanted to know if those like him would have to wait. Ali has been stuck in Pakistan for over two months with wife Rabia Tariq, 31 and their son Muhammad, 2.

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Pakistani expat Hassan Ali with his family Image Credit: Supplied

“Will my application to return to the UAE be considered in the first round as I am stuck with my family in Pakistan? Will our case be heard like other families (that have been separated)?” he asked.

Meanwhile Andrew James Ward, a long term resident of Dubai who is stuck in the UK, said he has been in a limbo since eight weeks. “My application registration has failed several times,” he claimed.

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Andrew James Ward Image Credit: Supplied