196K OFWs obtain proper work status in Saudi in 2013; only 450 to 500 OFWs still due for repatriation—Baldoz

Date Posted: January 8th, 2014 01:58 AM


196K OFWs obtain proper work status in Saudi in 2013; only 450 to 500 OFWs still due for repatriation—Baldoz Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed elation after receiving reports that 196,633 overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were able to rectify their work status and expressed her gratitude to the Saudi government and employers for their continuous support for the Filipino workers. “It looked like a difficult task at first,” Baldoz said, referring to the campaign initiated by the Philippine government to convince its workers in Saudi Arabia to comply with the Saudization law. “But we were able to accomplish the feat. In the end, the correction of stay will be very beneficial for them,” Baldoz said. Citing Labatt Rustico Dela Fuente’s report, the labor chief said that during the seven-month period, from 6 April to 3 November 2013, of the 2013 Saudi Amnesty Program, 104,364 OFWs in the Kingdom were able to successfully correct their work categories. Baldoz said the actual professions of the 104,364 OFWs are now properly indicated in their ‘iqama’ or work permits, thus, ensuring their continued employment, welfare, and well-being. The report said another 53,330 OFWs were legally transferred for employment under the sponsorship of new employers while 38,939 left the Kingdom voluntarily on final exit at the expense of their employers/sponsors. They are entitled to re-enter KSA on future employment except for those with derogatory records. Baldoz further said that during the amnesty period and the implementation of the policy on foreign workers on 4 November to 31 December 2013, a total of 5,094 OFWs were repatriated to the Philippines. Of this number, 2,984 came from Jeddah and the Western Region; 1,936 from Riyadh and the Central Region; and 174 from Al-Khobar and the Eastern Region, with the assistance of the Philippine government. POLO-Riyadh, however, informed Secretary Baldoz that there is still an estimated 450 to 500 OFWs in the Central Region Area seeking repatriation. “These OFWs are those who were not able to complete the correction process and are living out of the POLO or Embassy premises and are listed on-call as to when their cases are due for processing at the Jawazat,” the report states. Moreover, there are 170 females and 15 children currently staying at the Bahay-Kalinga and 143 males at the Exit 8 Esteraha which are both supervised by POLO-Riyadh. POLO-Jeddah reported that 47 females are staying at the POLO Filipino Workers Resource Center; 68 OFWs in the Consulate’s temporary shelter in Bawadi; 500 OFWs and children camping at the makeshift tents near the Consulate; and 48 OFWs and 37 children at the Saudi General Service Center. In Al Khobar, nine females are staying at the POLO shelter, seven females are staying at the Saudi Social Welfare Agency. “As of 2 January 2014, Saudi authorities continue to inspect establishments, but we have no report of any Filipino involved. It is very unlikely that Filipinos and employers provide shelter or take in OFWs on part-time employment for fear of being caught by authorities. There has also been a general increase in the number of request for assistance in a variety of cases and three times the number of OFWs seeking shelter,” dela Fuente said in his report. On the other hand, POLO-Jeddah reported there are no raids against Filipinos in the said region for the past three weeks. In addition, there are no influx of additional runaway Filipino workers nor any unusual increase in the number of female runaway workers admitted at the FWRC. Meanwhile, Secretary Baldoz welcomed reports that a two-month grace period was given by the KSA authorities to foreign workers who were not able to correct their legal status during the seven-month amnesty period to complete the rectification procedures at the Jawazat or the Passport Department. A report published at the Arab News website on 03 January 2014 said Saudi Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif had ordered the completion of correction procedures of expatriates whose papers were being processed by the Labor Ministry during the amnesty, before March 1. “We would like to extend our gratitude to the employers and sponsors of the OFWs in Saudi for helping facilitate the correction of their work status and to the Saudi government for their continued support to the overseas Filipino workers,” Baldoz said. “We are off to a renewed bid in terms of legal and proper OFW deployment to Saudi Arabia and we are hoping that we could do the same with the other OFW-destination countries. It is our objective to be able to afford stronger and better protection for the OFWs wherever they are and we can only do that if we know where they are, what they are doing, and they were able to pass the legal deployment process,” Baldoz said. END/rhev

Created Aug 18th 2014, 15:19


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