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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Several thounds of Indians to go home without fine

By our correspondent 4 June 2008

MUSCAT — Oman’s authorities have agreed to allow several thousands more of Indians living illegally in the country to go home without fines following an initiative by the Indian Embassy.
Last year, under an amnesty granted to overstaying Indians, 15,000 people had registered with the embassy. Some 13,900 of them have already left the Sultanate.

In November 2007, following a request from the embassy, the Oman government consented to allow more illegally residing Indians to leave the country without paying any fines but subject to normal checking of their antecedents.

Subsequently, the embassy began registering such cases. Two lists — one containing 5,541 names of those who came here on employment visas, and the other 2,603 names of persons who arrived in the country on visit visas — were prepared.

“The lists have been submitted to the government of the Sultanate,” Indian Ambassador Anil Wadhwa told a news conference here.

He added the Omani government would start processing the cases this week, after which names of those who have been prima-facie cleared would be published in newspapers.

Meanwhile, the embassy issued a total of 12,221 visas and 18,133 passports in the first five months of the year. The corresponding figures for the whole of 2007 were 22,671 and 41,637, respectively.
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