Viewing cable 03ABUDHABI1946
Title: UAEG OFFICIALS OFFER PERSPECTIVES ON WHY THE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUDHABI19462003-04-23 11:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
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Diana T Fritz  05/24/2007 04:26:39 PM  From  DB/Inbox:  Search Results

Cable 
Text:                                                                      
                                                                           
      
CONFIDENTIAL

SIPDIS
TELEGRAM                                           April 23, 2003


To:       No Action Addressee                                    

Action:   Unknown                                                

From:     AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI (ABU DHABI 1946 - ROUTINE)         

TAGS:     ELAB, PREL, PHUM, PGOV, SOCI, CVIS                     

Captions: None                                                   

Subject:  UAEG OFFICIALS OFFER PERSPECTIVES ON WHY THE AMNESTY   
          FAILED                                                 

Ref:      None                                                   
_________________________________________________________________
C O N F I D E N T I A L        ABU DHABI 01946

SIPDIS
CXABU:
    ACTION: ECON 
    INFO:   AMB DCM POL P/M 
Laser1:
    INFO:   FCS 

DISSEMINATION: ECON
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: DCM: RAALBRIGHT
DRAFTED: ECON: GARANA
CLEARED: ECON: TEWILLIAMS

VZCZCADI798
RR RUEHC RUCPDOC RUEHZM RUEHTU
DE RUEHAD #1946 1131139
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 231139Z APR 03
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9558
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHZM/GCC COLLECTIVE
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 0503
C O N F I D E N T I A L ABU DHABI 001946 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARP, NEA/RA, DRL AND EB/CBA 
STATE PASS OPIC/OPIC INTERNATIONAL POLICY DEPARTMENT 
FOR VIRGINIA GREEN AND CONSTANCE SHINN 
AMEMBASSY TUNIS HOLD FOR FSI: OLIVER JOHN 
USDOC FOR 4530/ITA/MAC/ONE/DGUGLIELMI, 
4520/ITA/MAC/ONE/CLOUSTAUNAU, 
4500/ITA/MAC/DAS/WILLIAMSON, 
3131/CS/OIO/ANESA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL 04/21/2008 
TAGS: ELAB PREL PHUM PGOV SOCI CVIS TC
SUBJECT:  UAEG OFFICIALS OFFER PERSPECTIVES ON WHY THE 
AMNESTY FAILED 
 
REF: ABU DHABI 1634 
 
¶1. (U) Classified by DCM Richard A. Albright reasons 
1.5 (B) and (D). 
 
¶2. (C) In a conversation with the DCM on April 21, UAE 
Labor Minister Matar Humaid Al-Tayer noted that the 
final number of amnesty seekers would be approximately 
50,000 -- significantly lower than the expected 
200,000-250,000. (See reftel).  Al-Tayer said the fact 
that so few illegal workers were seeking to leave 
without penalty reflected well on labor conditions in 
the UAE. (Note: In a separate conversation, Labor 
Undersecretary Dr. Khalid Al-Khazraji, told Econoff 
that he never expected the amnesty to succeed. After 
the first amnesty ended in 1996, expatriates realized 
that the UAEG was not serious about enforcing labor 
and immigration laws.  Many workers who took the 
amnesty regularized their status and returned to the 
UAE while those who did nothing suffered no penalties. 
Expatriate workers understand they will suffer no 
adverse consequences by not applying -- if they apply, 
they will have to leave.  If they don't apply and are 
caught by law enforcement (an unlikely event), they 
will not have the resources to pay the penalties 
anyway and they will get a free ticket home via 
deportation.  Pursuing a criminal case is difficult 
because the Ministry lacks the resources to prosecute 
each violator.  End note.) 
 
¶3. (SBU) Al-Tayer explained that the amnesty was 
implemented to assist workers who had been deceptively 
brought to the UAE under false pretenses to return 
home.  He described a common scenario where an Emirati 
national would establish what appeared to be a 
legitimate business receiving Ministry of Labor 
approval to recruit foreign workers.  The national 
would then hire a recruiter to find expatriates who 
would be required to pay 5,000-15,000 dirhams for a 
work visa depending on the length of the contract and 
how much the worker expected to earn in the UAE. These 
fees are split between the (usually South Asian) 
recruiters and the Emirati employer. If the Emirati 
company failed -- or was bogus -- the Emirati had 
already made his money; if employees here were not 
paid or lost their jobs, he would not be overly 
concerned.  The workers, however, who often had 
borrowed heavily to pay recruitment fees, could not 
afford to leave the country, and would thus seek 
whatever employment -- legal or otherwise -- that they 
could find.  The amnesty was enacted to aid these 
types of workers in returning home, but Al-Tayer 
stated that once workers arrived, most "liked it 
here," found other employment and did not want to 
leave. 
 
¶4. (C) Comment: Al Tayer's and Al Khazraji's remarks 
essentially mirror each other in their explanation for 
why the amnesty has failed -- Al Tayer notes that 
expatriates "like it here" though it would be more 
accurate to state that they have more opportunities 
here than at home (especially for laborers); Al 
Khazraji points out that expatriates have nothing to 
gain by applying for amnesty.  Since workers have 
greater job opportunities in the UAE than their native 
land, and no fear of law enforcement, there is no 
reason to apply for amnesty. End comment. 
 
Wahba