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Expatriates living and working in the United Arab Emirates now have until the end of next year to obtain a national ID card, it has been announced.
As recently as October, professionals in Abu Dhabi had been told that they had until the end of 2008 to register for the national identity card scheme, or else face heavy fines and the possibility of being denied access to public services and facilities.
However, the deadline has since been moved, first to the end of February, and now to the end of this year, due partly to the chaos seen at some registration centres over recent weeks as thousands of expatriate workers overwhelmed government workers.
Welcoming the announcement, Canadian business consultant Hani Qassim, 32 said that it was ‘great news’ for expatriates living in the UAE.
"I was expecting something like this because I’ve heard it’s very difficult to schedule an appointment," he told the National.
"I’m just leaving it until I have to. I’ll wait until I hit a roadblock and then I’ll get one," he added.
Expatriates who still fail to sign up for an ID card by the end of the year could face difficulties obtaining things such as a driver’s licence, a doctor’s appointment or even a job.
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