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Pinoy Worldwide

Group to PHL : Reconcile data on illegal Saudi OFWS

Dennis Carcamo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A migrant rights group on Wednesday urged Philippine government agencies concerned with the immediate repatriation of Filipinos from Saudi Arabia to reconcile their figures on the number of undocumented overseas Filipino workers in the oil-rich Kingdom.

Migrante Middle East and North Africa regional coordinator John Monterona said the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment should reconcile the data on overstaying or illegal OFWs in Saudi Arabia to facilitate giving assistance to them.
 
"We have noticed huge discrepancy on the figures of undocumented OFWs between the data from the DFA and DoLE that is misleading the public," Monterona said. 
 
He noted the DFA on its report issued on Wednesday showed that there are already 5,000 undocumented OFWs repatriated from Saudi Arabia since April, while 1,600 with pending application for regularization and repatriation for a sum total of 6,600.
 
On the other hand, Monterona said the DoLE has its own figures of undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia, totaling 12,000.
 
"The DoLE, citing reports from its Saudi-based labor officials, said that as of Nov. 3, 4,300 were already repatriated, 1,008 still awaiting exit visas, and 6,692 were given new passport and travel documents,"  Monterona said. 
 
Monterona also observed that the documentation being done by foreign embassies and consulates has been slow. 
 
Saudi labor offices will only issue exit visa if the undocumented OFW papers are complete, he said.
 
 "If there is still 6,692 with newly issued passport and travel documents plus the 1,600 with pending application for regularization and repatriation, so we still have 8,292 undocumented OFWs out of the 12,000," Monterona said.
 
"So after the three-month amnesty plus three-month extension and public pronouncements of the DFA that all undocumented will be repatriated before the Nov.3 deadline, only 5,000 were repatriated out of the 12,000, which equate to only 41.6 percent," Monterona added.  
 
He said that 6,692 undocumented OFWs with newly-issued passport and travel documents will wait for at least a year noting the poor performance rate of Philippine embassy and consulate officials processing their documents.  
 
"The longer their stay in the Kingdom entails huge risk of getting caught by Saudi authorities, penalized, imprisoned and be subjected to abuses," Monterona said. 

vuukle comment

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

JOHN MONTERONA

MIGRANTE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

MONTERONA

OFWS

SAUDI

SAUDI ARABIA

UNDOCUMENTED

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