MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has started negotiating with Saudi Arabia to expedite the repatriation of more than 2,000 undocumented Filipino workers camped outside the Philippine consulate in Jeddah, its spokesman said.
“Our officials have started talking to the Saudi government particularly the foreign ministry to waive some of the requirements to expedite the processing for the repatriation of our fellow Filipinos there,” said Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
He admitted that the process was tedious and complicated, especially since most of these Filipinos absconded their employers.
The OFWs are reportedly anxious to get out of Saudi Arabia before July, the deadline for illegal workers to legalize their stay there.
The Saudi government said it would enforce labor laws and punish illegal workers with imprisonment and fines amounting from 1,000 to 50,000 Saudi riyals.
Saudi Arabia has the largest number of OFWs of about 1.5 million, according to figures from the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration.