Amnesty: Many seek support for air tickets

Several amnesty seekers have been held back for failing to present an air ticket — one of the requirements of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) for them to be granted amnesty. Some charity organisations and community groups have expressed desire to provide air tickets to amnesty seekers with genuine cases of financial difficulty.

Many expatriates seeking amnesty find it hard to buy an air ticket since they don’t have a regular source of income. A good number of them were either jobless workers or freelancers who couldn’t find a regular job or payment.

“We have a separate unit for social services at a branch of our charity organisation near Al Biya (Environment) roundabout at Duhail”, said an official from Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF).

“The unit works for the welfare of people in Qatar – citizens and expatriates and provides necessary financial support including air tickets. The amnesty seekers who do not have enough money to buy an air ticket to fly back to their homelands could approach to the concerned unit at the branch to submit their requests. But they have to produce some documents to prove that they are really facing financial problems”, said the official.

Embassies and community organisations are geared up to spread awareness about the three-month amnesty and help their community members to avail of it.

The Nepalese embassy has begun issuing travel documents to amnesty seekers who lost their passports, said a source. The embassy asked the beneficiaries to bring some documents like a copy of missing passport, Qatari ID card or Nepali National ID card to prove they are Nepalese citizens, said the source.

“We have launched a drive to create awareness among Bangladeshi expatriates in Qatar about the amnesty,” said a Bangladesh embassy official.

“We have posted notices in our language at the entrance of Bangladeshi restaurants across the country with details and news about the amnesty and the related procedures. We are also using embassy website and social media networks like Facebook to reach out to the maximum number of people,” he added.

“ I do not think there is a big number of runaway Bangladeshi workers and illegals in the country.”

On the issuance of travel documents to those with missing passports, the official said, “It will take few hours even if they failed to produce any document to prove them Bangladeshi. In such cases, we call the local authority to verify the address given by the applicants or some documents from their relatives to email to the embassy,” he added. There are some 300,000 Bangladeshi nationals in Qatar. Some 10,000 people come to Qatar every month, said the official.