Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, a US/UK based legal and Human rights organization, has warned foreign workers and investors in the UAE to exit before it’s too late.
In a communication with Thisage, she said with the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown tumbling economies, the stringent financial laws of the country opens workers and investors of any kind to either jail or lose of assets in the event of further disruptions.
She said. “2008 saw mass casualties, with debtors jailed, robbed of their assets or prevented from leaving the country. Worldwide lockdowns are expected to have an even greater impact.
Stirling who has represented numerous high profile individuals, particularly in the area of financial crime, advising enforcement authorities, foreign governments, financial advisors and private investors said,
“The closure of world economies, travel and businesses this year has left countries suffering to the tune of trillions of dollars, with millions at the brink of starvation and mass job losses.
“Businesses have sustained considerable losses during the lockdown and even once restrictions are lifted, are unlikely to return to normal turnover levels for some time, even years. There appears to be no government plan to make individuals feel safe but rather the opposite, to promote social distancing as a new way of life.
“Dubai Expo 2020 employees have been made redundant as the hope to attract foreign investment fades. Staffs are being laid off without pay across all industries and expats will have no choice but to return to their native land. Most persons who were in a flexible situation, have already left the UAE, while some have taken the risk that they will have a job after lockdown.”
Arguing that thought it is standard practice in the UAE to provide post- dated cheques for monthly commitments or business agreements, she said,
“Many of these cheques will bounce which is a criminal offence in Dubai with a penalty of up to three years per cheque, whether the cheque was written fraudulently or whether it was not honoured because of a government mandated lockdown that caused economic devastation.
In 2008, those who remained and tried to resolve their business issues or negotiate a new repayment scheme with banks, were jailed, she said.
“There was no mercy. The ones who left quickly lost their homes, their cars and were chased internationally by debt collectors but, at least, they were not in jail or forbidden to leave the UAE as many still are. The only hope of resolving financial issues without going to jail, is to leave the country.”