Several Indian nationals who arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seeking employment but now stranded due to flight suspensions in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns, were desperate to return home as they claimed of running out of money, it was reported.
Shahanad Pulukkool, 26, a driver from Kannoor district of Kerala, whose visit visa expired on April 1, said he was staying with four others in a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai.
“My brother is leasing the apartment. Owing to the unusual situation we are all in, four others have joined us in the apartment. My brother who works as a driver is taking care of us,” he told Gulf News on Thursday.
Pulukkool said he came here looking for a job as a driver, but to no avail.
“I just want to go home now. I don’t want to be a burden on my brother.”
Shaukat Ali, 29, also from Kannoor, who lives with Pulukkool and his brother, said” “I was shortlisted for a job but unfortunately due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company said they have put hiring on hold.
“My visa expires May end but I see no point in staying here…”
The same is the case with Mahesh Purwa. his visit visa expired on March 30 and was scheduled to fly out of the UAE on March 25.
“I heard the overstay fines will be waived off, but I would rather be back in my home country now,” he told Gulf News.
Musaddique M, also from Kerala, India, said: “With the sterilisation drive in place, there is no way I can get out of the house, leave alone find a job. Ramadan is coming up too and I don’t think there will be any job placements happening in the near future.”
According to travel agents and social workers, there are several more such stranded visitors in the UAE.
Ibrahim Khaleel Arimala of Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) told Gulf News that social workers have been helping some people in need, especially with food and personal supplies.