OFWs in UAE Cautioned on Taking Out Loans, Issuing Bouncing Checks

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday warned overseas Filipino workers in the United Arab Emirates against availing loans through their credit cards that they can’t afford to pay.

The advisory was issued following the “alarming” increase in the number of Filipinos detained there due to unpaid loans.

According to the DFA, many OFWs are tempted to apply for loans in the UAE due to low interest rates.

“They (OFWs) are lured by low interest rates, without paying much attention to the other charges which appear in the fine print, and the prospect of taking as much as 18 months of one’s salary,” the DFA said.

“Usually, banks require only a certificate of employment to approve a loan application,” it added.

Meanwhile, the DFA also reminded the OFWs that issuing a bounced check is a criminal offense in the UAE.

“Lenders usually require borrowers to affix his or her signature on a blank check as a security measure. When the borrower defaults on his or her obligation, the check will bounce and criminal charges would ensue,” it said.

It added that if the signature on the check is proven original and authentic, the case against the borrower is upheld in court.

“These cases also apply to co-makers and guarantors of the borrower,” the DFA said.

The DFA also said that debt-related cases in the UAE become complicated to handle once the lender files a case against the borrower.

If a civil case is filed against an OFW who has an unpaid loan, a travel ban automatically ensues where the borrower is prohibited from leaving the country.

The DFA noted that in these cases, Philippine diplomatic missions cannot help OFWs since banks and private individuals in the UAE consider loans as a private matter.

“This situation also occurs in other Arab Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and to a lesser degree in Saudi Arabia,” the DFA pointed out.

The DFA urged OFWs to be wise in spending and saving their money to avoid having to avail of loans there.

(Source: Andrei Medina/KBK, GMA News)

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