The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has confirmed that more than 6,500 foreign nationals have already returned to the Gulf state since the country allowed residents to return in the wake of the covid-19 induced lockdown.
According to a report in Al-Arabiya English, flights that allow UAE residents to travel back to the Emirates have only recently been announced, with passengers able to fly once UAE government approval has been granted.
All international flights were suspended on 23 March. For UAE residents and tourists looking to return home during the lockdown, airlines have also been offering separate one-way flights, encouraged by the federal government in Abu Dhabi under its "leave early" policy for expat workers.
The UAE is home to 7.8 million expats, with Emirati nationals numbering just 1.4 million."
This week Dubai's flag-carrier Emirates Airlines announced it would resume flights to nine cities in eight countries, with connectioning flights between the UK and Australia, from 21 May.
Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based airline, has said it plans to restart some of its scheduled flights on 16 June.
Dr. Khaled Al-Mazrouei, assistant undersecretary for Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abu Dhabi said: "A total of 6,504 foreign nationals have already returned to the UAE onboard the UAE national carriers."
"Following the decision to temporarily allow specific flights to pass through the airports, 317 air repatriations of foreign citizens have taken place so far, with a total of 74,745 repatriates and we are expecting to have in the pipeline for the coming days over 112 repatriations," Al-Mazrouei added.
The UAE is home to 7.8 million expats, with Emirati nationals numbering just 1.4 million.
In a separate development, the UAE authorities have announced that all expats will be exempt from any fees arising from overstaying visas or expired residency or work permits, for a duration of three months from May, II reported this week.