Dubai: Airlines and travel agents yesterday said they have been asked to implement new procedures for visit/ tourist visa holders flying into Dubai from five countries, after hundreds of passengers stranded at Dubai International Airport since Tuesday were flown back to their countries.
The stranded Pakistani and Indian passengers did not meet entry requirements. They were provided with food at the airport. The missions facilitated the entry of some of them while others were flown back home.
Travellers not complying with the latest regulations will be sent back to the same destination where they came from on the expenses of the airlines concerned, the airlines were informed. Following this, Indian airlines such as Air India Express and IndiGo issued travel updates for Indian passengers travelling to Dubai on tourist/ visit visas or planning to obtain “visa on arrival” here.
While Air India Express stated that all tourist/ visit visa holders to Dubai must hold a valid return ticket to be accepted for travel, IndiGo said such passengers will be denied entry and shall be deported at their own cost and expenses in the absence of a valid return ticket.
Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani missions in Dubai confirmed to Gulf News that hundreds of passengers from their countries, who were denied entry for non- compliance of regulations for visit/ tourist visa holders, were flown back home while a few dozens were cleared for entry.
Airline sources had earlier said that there were hundreds of passengers of different nationalities, mainly from the labour- sending Asian and African countries, who were denied entry.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs ( GDRFA) in Dubai, which had confirmed travellers from Pakistan getting denied entry at Dubai International Airport due to non- compliance with entry requirements for tourist visas, had also clarified that these travellers did not have a valid hotel reservation or a relative’s reference, nor did they have a return ticket booking, as required by the UAE immigration rules. Indian and Pakistani missions in Dubai said that hundreds of passengers from their countries, who were denied entry for non-compliance of regulations for visit/ tourist visa holders, were flown back home while a few dozens were cleared for entry.
“Out of 561 stranded Pakistani passengers, the consulate managed the entry of 23 passengers into the UAE. Of the remaining, 86 have been sent back and 152 are still at the airport. Their repatriation is being arranged on various flights by tonight,” a spokesperson from the Pakistani consulate in Dubai told Gulf News.
“We are with them at the airport and food is being provided. Our consul- general had meetings with UAE Foreign Office and DG Immigration as well.”
Of around 200 stranded Indian passengers, 120 were flown back home, according to Neeraj Agrawal, consul for press, information and culture at the Indian consulate. “Over 30were cleared for entry. The rest will be sent back tonight,” he said.
Airlines and travel agents have also begun to strictly implement the entry requirements for passengers flying on tourist visas to Dubai which include confirmed return ticket, hotel reservation and enough funds to support their stay.
Over 100 Indians stranded
The Indian consulate also confirmed that more than 100 Indians were among the stranded passengers. “Some of them were later cleared for entry while some were deported. The remaining are in the process of being sent back to India,”
Agrawal said. He added that the passengers either did not have enough cash, or proof of hotel booking, or a reference from relatives.
“We appeal to visit visa holders to strictly adhere to the rules. People coming for genuine tourism purpose should follow these requirements. Those coming for other purposes should come only on proper visas.”
Agrawal pointed out that the clause requiring enough resources to support visitors’ stay is an old one. “Airlines have already started taking action and stopping people from coming if they are not fulfilling these requirements,” he said.
The Pakistani Consul General also said that instructions have been given back home to take preventive action. “People will be asked to strictly follow the regulations before flying.”
Airlines and travel agencies said they have started strictly implementing the entry requirements for passengers flying on tourist visas to Dubai.
Industry sources said strict measures in screening tourists to ensure they have enough funds and proper accommodation will prevent blue-collar workers from flying into Dubai on visit visas to look for jobs and ending up getting stranded.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs ( GDRFA) in Dubai said that the Pakistanis denied entry at Dubai airport did not have a valid hotel reservation or a relative’s reference, nor did they have a return ticket booking, as required by UAE immigration.
Courtesy - Gulf News
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