MANILA - Thousands of passports surrendered by employers to Saudi Arabian authorities after their Filipino workers absconded are now with the custody of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and its consulate in Jeddah.
The embassy in Riyadh said it has over 27,000 passports in its custody surrendered over the years by Saudi authorities, while the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah has about 12,000.
"About 20% of the passports being sought by Filipino workers are found to be in the Embassy’s custody," the embassy said in an earlier press statement posted on its website.
Those whose passports are in the custody of the embassy or the consulate may apply for an extension of the validity of the passport for one year which costs SAR 80.00.
There are four ways to check if a worker's passport is in the custody of the embassy or consulate.
1. By WEB - check the embassy website and use the search tool for surrendered passports (ABSCONDING OFW box). Click on the image and enter your last name and first name.
2. By TEXT - Text "Surrendered Passport" and your last name and first name to mobile number 056-989-3301. You will receive a text to confirm if your passport is with the embassy/consulate.
3. By PHONE - Call telephone number 011-482-3816 or 011-480-1918.
4. In PERSON - Come personally to the embassy or consulate.
The passports will only be released to the person it was issued to.
"The embassy will not allow representatives to claim other people's passports," it stated.
Claiming of passports is free of charge. Filipinos are advised not to pay anyone to retrieve their passport.
"For those in Jeddah or under the jurisdiction of Jeddah, they may send a text (SMS) with their full name to 0555-219-614 or drop their name at the consulate gate for verification," it further stated.