Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Vincent Eisfeld

A Filipino woman who has lived in the United Arab Emirates illegally for 31 years has had her overstay fines worth more than 1.08 million dirhams (US$294,000) waived by the government.

According to Brigadier Hassan Sultan Al Nuaimi, executive director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in the northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, the woman went to the UAE in 1985 and worked as a maid for two years, Khaleej Times reported.

After two years, she became an illegal resident. Once the authorities caught up with her, she faced around 1.08 million dirhams in fines for overstaying in the UAE for 31 years. However, her fines were waived thanks to the country’s ongoing amnesty program.

Other illegal residents have also had their overstay fines waived and were allowed to leave. One woman said her overstay fine reached 528,000 dirhams as she had stayed in the country illegally since 2003. She said she would return to her home country but wanted to return in the UAE and work there legally.

The UAE’s amnesty program will continue until October 31. Residents who are in the country illegally can choose to fix their status and obtain a work visa or return to their home country without paying any fines.

Read: Authorities lift fines for Filipinos who overstay in UAE