DUBAI: Thirty Indian workers are stranded here in the UAE as they were stopped from boarding a repatriation flight after they failed to pay the fine for staying in the country with expired visas, according to a media report on Friday.
Forty Rajasthani construction workers were to board a charter flight repatriating Indians to Jaipur on July 17, the Gulf News reported.
Of them, only 10 could clear the immigration check as the rest had fine dues, the report said.
"Some of us are on visit visas while some others' residence visas have already expired. We didn't know we would have to pay fines. Some have fines of about 10,000 dirham (Rs 2,03,700) to 11,000 dirham (Rs 2,24,000) while others have smaller amounts of fines," one of the workers told the newspaper.
The stranded labourers decided to stay put at the airport as they had zero earnings in the last few months.
"The company had booked our tickets. But, when we couldn't fly, they asked us to go back to the accommodation. There was no point in going back to the empty rooms where we spent months without salaries. We had already given away all our foodstuff to other workers in the neighbouring accommodations," another worker told the newspaper.
The labourers had spent four days in the airport when the Indian Consulate in Dubai came to their rescue.
The workers were moved to a company-provided accommodation. They were later supplied with bedding material and kitchen utensils.
Meanwhile, the company is booking another set of repatriation tickets for July 27, even though the dispute over fines is yet to be settled.
A company executive said they were working out the documentation process for forgoing the workers' fines.
We are hopeful that we can get their fines waived as per the new announcement about the cancellation of fines for people whose visas expired before March 1, he added.