Friday, September 4, 2009

Dozens of maids arrested in immigration raids

Hassan Hassan
• Last Updated: August 19. 2009 6:06PM UAE / August 19. 2009 2:06PM GMT
ABU DHABI // A total of 42 people were arrested in raids in the capital targeting suspected illegal immigrants.

Acting on a tip-off that there were a number of illegal immigrants in “suspicious” flats, police carried out raids on 13 properties in different parts of the city in a six-hour operation that began last night and ended this morning.

Of those arrested, 38 were maids of African or Asian origin and four were from African or Arab countries, accused of employing or housing them.

Maj Gen Nasser al Minhali, the acting director of the Naturalisation and Residency Department, said: “A number of policewomen took part in the raids.”

Four people have been referred to the public prosecution office and are expected to appear in court.

Maj Gen al Minhali said regular inspections into suspected immigration violations would continue.

“Anyone who violates the law, who employs or help - in whatever way - someone who violates the law or infiltrates the country will be punished,” he added.

He also called on landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants “otherwise they would face legal consequences, including big financial fines”.

Maj Gen al Minhali said inspections were being stepped up as housing or employing illegal immigrants led to financial, social and security problems.

He said co-operation among different official departments as well as with the public is essential to fight this “phenomenon”.

He urged the public to increase their co-operation with police and security agencies to inform them of any violators or infiltrators to help in their crime - fighting efforts.

The penalty for hiring or housing an illegal immigrant is a fine of Dh100,000 and two months in prison. A person who hires a foreigner whom he did not sponsor faces a fine of Dh50,000.

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