Pinoys told to legalize stay in Saudi

Published by rudy Date posted on April 16, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advised yesterday Filipinos who have status problems in Saudi Arabia to legalize their stay to avoid punishment from Saudi authorities.

“As of the moment, there is no amnesty for foreign nationals illegally staying in Saudi Arabia. The Filipino community is advised to wait for official announcements from Saudi authorities and the Philippine embassy and consulate officials on the matter,” the DFA said.

The DFA clarified that the grace period given by the Saudi government is meant for violators of the Saudization policy – specifically foreign workers whose employers are not their sponsors.

Those who fall under this category have violated Saudi labor laws.

On the other hand, those who have left their original sponsors and no longer have valid residency permits or passports are a different category altogether.

The department said these runaway workers have immigration problems. The remedies available for these types of workers are different.
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For workers affected by the Saudization policy, they need to transfer from their original sponsors to their current employer.

On the other hand, workers falling under the immigration problem category will need their last valid iqama or residency card and valid passport or a copy of the last passport. They should get in touch with their original sponsors when they first arrived in Saudi Arabia who will issue them a No Objection Certificate.

The DFA said “our embassy, consulate and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Saudi Arabia are always ready to provide appropriate advice and assistance, including repatriation.”

Those who wish to come back to the Philippines can only do so after they have completed the procedure prescribed by the Saudi government, which might take some time.

Saudi authorities have to check first if these individuals have pending cases, outstanding debts or some unfinished business in the kingdom before they are given clearance to leave.

“Our embassy and consulate officials will also negotiate the fast-tracking of the repatriation process with Saudi authorities on behalf of overseas Filipino workers,” the DFA added. –Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star)

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