Immigration-Related Crimes in the UAE

21 Apr 2022

The United Arab Emirates (the UAE) is one of the most developed countries in the Middle East and a tourism-friendly business hub. It is a known fact that people from across the globe wish to come to the UAE, and therefore, the UAE has stringent immigration laws to combat illegal immigrants in the country and safeguard the interests of its nationals and residents. It imposes severe punishments and hefty fines on the individuals who violate the immigration laws to ensure proper implementation of the immigration laws. Initially, the UAE introduced its immigration and residence law, namely Federal Law Number 6 for 1973 Concerning Immigration and Residence, the title and some of its provisions have been amended in Federal Law Number 13 for 1996 Concerning Aliens Entry and Residence (hereinafter referred to as the Law) to deal with all immigration-related crimes. Implementation of the Law has set rules and regulations for expatriates (anyone who is not a national of the United Arab Emirates’) about their entry and residence in the UAE and incorporated all the punishments and fines regarding violators. The General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs regulates immigration and residence-related matters under the control of the Ministry of Interior the UAE; it is authorized by the Minister of Interior to issue residence permit ’period not exceeding three years to the expatriates. The local security authorities and federal security authorities within their scope of duty can stop and search any vessel if there is any suspicion about any person for violation of any provisions of the Law and the authorities have the power to arrest such persons and direct the vessel to enter the nearest port in the UAE. 


Fines and Punishments for the Violators


If the residence permit, entry visa, entry permission of any expatriate is canceled or has been expired, he/she is supposed to apply for the renewal of such documents or leave the UAE within one month; if failed to do so, the expatriate would be liable to be fined with a sum not less than AED 100 (UAE Dirhams) per day. In case the offender fails to pay the specified amount of fine, he will face imprisonment for three months, or AED 4,000 (UAE Dirham) fine, and the court can issue an order for his/her deportation as well. The Minister of Interior is authorized to issue the order of deportation of expatriates, even of those having residence permit under Article 23 of the Law, if a court convicts him and ordered deportation if the expatriate has not shown any funds/means of his living in the UAE and if the security authorities consider deportation in the interest of public and security of the country. The expatriate would be deported along with his dependent family. He/she can be detained on the orders of the Minister of Interior for not more than two weeks to execute any necessary measures regarding his deportation. Once an expatriate is deported from the UAE, he may not return to the country unless he is granted special permission from the Minister of Interior if the expatriate fulfills the necessary conditions and provisions for entry following the Law’s provisions. Expatriates can exit the UAE after the issuance of deportation orders from the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs. If an expatriate enters the UAE in any means of transportation by violating the provisions of Article 2 and Article 7 of the Law, he would be liable to the punishment of deportation for breaching the Law.

The deportation orders would be issued by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs and direct the conveyance means in which he has traveled to take him back to his country or bear the expenses of his traveling back to his home country. If the transportation company/ captain refuses to follow the orders, he will be charged with a fine of AED 2,000 (UAE Dirhams) charges. There are rigorous penalties for illegal immigrants entering the UAE. Such violators of the Law would be penalized with imprisonment for a duration of one month and an AED 1,000 (UAE Dirhams) fine or any from both penalties and deportation on court’s order. A sentence of imprisonment minimum for three years and a maximum of fifteen years and a fine not less than AED 5,000 (UAE Dirhams) will be charged from the transportation means or the captain who brings or tries to get the expatriate inside the UAE. The means of committing the crime will be seized, and the fine will be multiplied by the number of infiltrators in the transportation means. Forgery is a punishable felony. 


In case an expatriate is found committing forgery of any document, entry visa, or residence license to live in the UAE, such person will be imprisoned for a maximum period of ten years and might face deportation. The Court of Cassation has jurisdiction to try the forgery matters and illegal transportation means and pass orders accordingly. An expatriate enters into the UAE on a visit visa; he is not allowed to work anywhere; if he does not refrain from doing so, he will be imprisoned for three months, and a fine of AED 1,000 (UAE Dirhams) or with one of these penalties and might be deported on court’s order. 


In other cases, if the expatriate gets sponsorship from one employer and works with another employer without transferring his sponsorship according to law, he will be punished with imprisonment and a fine not exceeding AED 10,000 (UAE Dirhams) or any one of them, the same penalty goes with the sponsor if he does not bring this fact into the knowledge of police or if he does not employ the expatriate he has sponsored for work and the expatriate works with some other employer on that visa. Besides these harsh penalties, some expatriates are exempted from the application of provisions of this Law; they are the high dignitaries, presidents, heads/members of diplomatic missions and consulates, diplomatic passport holders, crews of vessels and airplanes, persons exempted by the Minister of Interior and their families. It is necessary to adhere to the laws of the land in which someone intends to live in or desires to work as an immigrant to avoid the consequences of not abiding by the provisions of the laws. There is no mercy for the law violators and perpetrators, and one cannot hide under the umbrella of not knowing the law because ignorance of the law is no excuse; one should be cognizant of all the laws, rules, and regulations of a country before planning to move there. To know more about the immigration law, which could assist in proceedings of your case, contact immigration practice law at Fotis International.