DFA Urged to Verify Report of New Saudi Amnesty for Illegal Migrants

2015-0220 DFA Urged to Verify Report of New Saudi Amnesty for Illegal Migrants

OFWs waiting to correct their papers camp out at the Philippine consulate’s premises in Jeddah in this November 2013 file photo. (AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino migrant workers’ rights group has urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to immediately verify with Saudi Arabia reports of a new amnesty for illegal aliens that media in the Middle East kingdom said is due to be implemented next month.

The appeal from Migrante-Middle East followed a report in the Saudi Gazette early this week on the announcement by Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, of the amnesty to allow “illegal expatriates to rectify their residential status.”

The report also quoted Head of General Security Othman Al-Muhrij as saying the grace period “will be implemented across the Kingdom.”

“We are looking to rectify the status of expatriates who have entered the country illegally or working under a sponsor or on a position that is different from what is stated on their residence permits,” Al-Muhrij said in the report.

The new amnesty period follows the one in 2013 when millions of foreigners were given the chance to correct their work and residency status.

“It’s prudent on the part of the DFA and the PH diplomatic post in the Kingdom to immediately validate the reported granting of amnesty by the Saudi government for all illegal overseas Filipino workers to rectify their status, and look into the coverage and process on how to avail the amnesty,” Migrante-ME coordinator John Leonard Monterona said in a statement.

Monterona estimated that around 300,000 illegal migrants, some 20,000 of them Filipinos, stand to benefits from the new amnesty.

He urged undocumented OFWs to register their names with the Philippine embassy in Riyadh and the consulate in Jeddah, or contact Migrante-ME by calling or texting its hotline to provide their full name and current location.

“Undocumented OFWs should grab this opportunity to correct their status. We are willing to help them and it’s always our pleasure assisting them.” Monterona said.

(Source: InterAksyon.com)

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