A total of 644 overseas Filipino workers have been repatriated from Kuwait since May, a Department of Migrant Workers official said Monday.
Undersecretary Hans Cacdac said he cannot confirm reports that some 302 Filipinos were deported by the Kuwaiti government recently.
"We can't confirm that information but between May and June, we have 644 repatriated, distressed OFWs from Kuwait. We still have 2 more flights arriving till June 8," he told TeleRadyo.
He said the repatriated workers include "distressed workers with labor cases, those with problems with employers and some who were overstaying their visas or had decided to stay without work permits."
He said these OFWs are endorsed to the Kuwaiti Ministry of the Interior and the immigration department after processing.
The Kuwaiti government has demanded that the Philippines close shelters housing migrant workers who escape from their employers.
But Manila has stood firm on maintaining these shelters, saying that this is non-negotiable.
The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs said all actions taken by the Philippines Embassy and government are "to ensure the safety and welfare of our own nationals."
"Providing protection to a country's citizens abroad is a well established duty of consular offices under international law and conventions," the statement said.
In the interview, Cacdac said the Filipinos staying in Philippine shelters are not fugitives but distressed workers.
"We explained to the Kuwaiti side that the shelters are places for our countrymen while they are being processed and endorsed," he said.
Earlier this year, the Philippines stopped the deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait after the body of a domestic worker, 35-year-old Jullebee Ranara, was found in the Kuwaiti desert in January.
Kuwaiti police arrested the 17-year-old son of her employer in connection with her death.
The Philippine government vowed it would do everything to ensure justice for the victim.
The incident stoked tensions between Kuwait and Manila over the protection and rights of Filipino migrant workers.
And in an escalation of the row between the two sides, Kuwait recently suspended all new visas for Philippine nationals indefinitely.