Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Ralf Roletschek

Filipinos who have overstayed their visas in the United Arab Emirates can apply to have fines waived under the country’s amnesty program.

One Filipina domestic worker left her employers six years ago when they refused to pay her for three months, Khaleej Times reported.

Because she did not have a new employer, she overstayed in the UAE and incurred a fine of 20,000 dirhams (US$5,444). She said that the amnesty program helped her clear her fine and was able to apply for a new visa to work in the country.

Another Filipina domestic worker, ‘Jasmine’ (not her real name) overstayed in the country for five years after leaving her employers when she was forced to work for up to 20 hours a day and to survive on only three hours of sleep.

Jasmine said she could not return to the Philippines as she had to work for her family and she did not have her passport. She said that the amnesty program allowed her to get a new passport and a new work visa.

“The amnesty allows us to be hired under legal means and preserves our rights,” Jasmine said.

The UAE’s amnesty program started on August 1 and will last for three months. Filipinos who are in the country illegally or who have overstayed their visas can apply for an amnesty which, if granted, will result in the waiving of all fines.