Undocumented OFWs in Saudi urged to submit requirements
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay urged undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia to complete the process of legalizing their stay there after Saudi King Abdullah extended the grace period to November 3.
“Once again, I appeal to our kababayans (compatriots) to utilize this additional time given them to submit all the needed requirements to the Philippine Embassy,” Binay, the presidential adviser on OFW Concerns, said in a statement Wednesday.
“I would like to especially thank King Abdullah for once again showing his kindness and compassion in allowing the extension,” he said. “The extension will allow us more time to process the documents to legalize the stay of our OFWs or process the repatriation of those who wish to come home.”
Saudi Arabia has been cracking down on undocumented migrant workers since March 28 because of their “Saudization” policy, which encourages the employment of Saudi nationals in private firms.
At least 800 OFWs have been repatriated from Saudi following the crackdown. Hundreds more were camped outside the Philippine embassies in Riyadh and Jeddah awaiting the processing of their papers.
King Abdullah granted a three-month grace period on April 6 following clamor from the embassies of other countries with nationals working in Saudi that they be given more time to have their papers processed. The first grace period ended on July 3, Monday.
Binay said in the statement that the second extension granted by King Abdullah was due to requests from Saudi companies citing a backlog in the processing of documents in government offices, which were reportedly undermanned and over-capacity.
The Philippines has around one million OFWs in Saudi Arabia, according to the DFA.
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