Overstaying OFWs urged to avail Saudi amnesty; migrant group calls on PH embassy to provide assistance
28 April 2011
A Filipino migrant rights group in Saudi Arabia, Migrante-Saudi Arabia, today urges all overstaying overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to avail the Saudi government amnesty for all overstaying non-nationals in the oil-rich Kingdom.
Mario Ben, chairperson of Migrante in Saudi Arabia, said it is an opportune time for all overstaying OFWs to avail the extension of the amnesty given by the Saudi govt.
“This time, even absconders or those who have run away from their employers where their Iqamas (work and/or residency permit) have expired are included,” Ben added.
Ben quoting a report from the Interior Ministry (http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article375188.ece) said the amnesty has been extended until September 14.
“We welcome the five months extension of the amnesty for all overstaying OFWs. We hail this very considerate decision by the Saudi govt. to allow our fellow overstaying OFWs to be repatriated without being subjected to its immigration violation penalty such as imprisonment and fines,” Ben added.
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona calls on the Ph embassy in Riyadh, the PH consulate in Jeddah and its satellite office in Al-Khobar to promptly disseminate the information of the extension of amnesty to the Filipino community and OFWs organizations.
“Migrante chapters in Saudi Arabia will be helping disseminate the information by distributing leaflets and conducting dialogs with various Filipino organizations about the amnesty, and how they could ask for assistance for their documentation and eventually avail the amnesty,” Monterona added.
Monterona said he is not certain if the Saudi govt. will shoulder the airfares of the overstaying OFWs who want to avail the amnesty. “This is for the PH embassy to know,” he added.
“The Aquino govt. must be ready to allocate funds for the airfares of overstayers who want to avail the amnesty,” Monterona added.
He said about 8,000 overstaying and undocumented OFWs may avail the amnesty.
Of the 4,000+ stranded in Jeddah, 1,000+ with their travel documents ready, but are still awaiting funds for their airfares from the Manila govt.
There are about 1.2-M OFWs working in Saudi Arabia and consistently in the No.1 spot in sending remittances in the entire Middle East.
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-ME regional coordinator