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August 28, 2012

Indian maid victim of ‘free visa’ system stranded in Oman

     Muscat: An Indian maid, ignorant of immigration laws, has been stranded in Oman with huge accumulated fines, hunger and sickness. Naseema Mariyam Beevi, 42, is a victim of the ‘free visa’ system and unscrupulous agents. According to gulfnews.com, though the ‘free visa’ system is illegal in the country, low wage workers, ignorant of the laws, still fall for it. The sponsor provides an employment visa to an expatriate on a fixed monthly or yearly charge and allows them to work anywhere they please under the ‘free visa’ arrangement, the report said. Naseema, who has survived for longer than a week by consuming only tea, has been living in Oman for last 20 years and had worked as a housemaid with an Omani family in Ibri. She was ignorant about immigration procedures, which required her to go for finger printing and a resident card after entering Oman on an employment visa, the report added. “She did not go for labour card thus her stay in Oman since 2008 is illegal,” P.M. Jabir, Social Welfare Secretary at the Indian Social Club, said. He added that Naseema would have to pay a fine of around 4000 riyals for not reporting to the Immigration Department after her arrival. That is the biggest worry in her case. The housemaid has been without work for a long time and has even sold whatever ornaments she had to pay her rent, the report said. Jabir, who arranged a medical test for Naseema, said that ‘the blood tests showed that she has hyperthyroidism and she also suffered from subclinical chickenpox’. “On top of that she has been staying hungry or taking only tea as she had no money,” he said. Jabir said that either amnesty from local Oman authorities or some philanthropist could help Naseema unite with her husband and two children in India , the report added.
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