Saudi gives 2-month reprieve for undocumented workers

by Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 10 2014 08:45 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2014 07:53 PM

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday confirmed earlier reports about a 2-month extension for undocumented foreigners with pending requests for rectification of status before the Saudi Passport Department or Jazawat.

The DFA advised concerned overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to follow up on their request as soon as possible.

The 2-month grace period will end on March 1.

Based on Saudi Labor Ministry data, 157,694 Filipinos were able to regularize their status in 2013.

Meanwhile, 38,939 OFWs left Saudi Arabia on final exit visas during the same period.

The DFA said repatriation efforts for other Filipinos in Saudi are still ongoing.

The Consulate General and the Embassy were able to facilitate the return of 6,235 Filipinos from Saudi to date.

Vice-President Jejomar Binay also welcomed the kingdom's decision to give undocumented migrant workers a grace period to correct their work status.

Binay, in a press statement, said the extension would ease the anxieties of the remaining undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia and their families.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Saudi Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bid Naif ordered the completion of correction procedures of expatriates before March 1.

"I would like to especially thank King Abdullah for once again showing his kindness and compassion in allowing the extension," Binay said. "The extension will allow us more time to process the documents to legalize the stay of the remaining overseas Filipino workers or process the repatriation of those who wish to come home."

Binay urged remaining undocumented OFWs in Saudi Arabia to legalize their stay in the kingdom.