Expats in the UAE flee debt with intention to return
Foreign nationals in the UAE who face police reports from creditors are increasingly fleeing to their homeland to avoid the criminalised punishments. Now though, more often than not, they pay off their debts from abroad with the intention to return to the UAE once they have settled obligations that could otherwise lead to imprisonment.
Expats are astute enough nowadays to know that in the event they can not fulfil their credit payment obligations, a bank may open a police case that would lead to their passport confiscation. Once a passport is confiscated, the debtor will not be able to obtain employment in the UAE and ultimately, the debt will result in imprisonment if they are unable to pay. Savvy expats who are able to earn a higher income in the UAE than at home, but have perhaps lost their employment, find that it is safer to return home and negotiate their debts from the safety of their homeland. They may be on a lesser income at home but are usually able (over time) to manage to settle their debts in the UAE, allowing them to return in the future for more gainful employment.
Most cases that we negotiate are resolved amicably and following a settlement, we recommend that clients perform a full status check before they plan any travel to the GCC region. This ensures that there are no outstanding police cases, court cases, immigration alerts or GCCPol reports.
It would be a major legal development in the UAE if the legal process would allow debtors to gain employment while there is a case pending against them. Not only would this assist in preventing detentions but it would be a step in the right direction for banks who would happily agree to a repaying plan in instalments.