Saudi gov’t extends amnesty program anew

By , on September 28, 2017

FILE: Flag of Saudi Arabia (Photo by wikimedia commons, CC0)
FILE: Flag of Saudi Arabia (Photo by wikimedia commons, CC0)

MANILA — Qualified Filipino workers who are illegally staying in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have 30 more days to avail of its amnesty program.

This, after Riyadh has extended until October 15, 2017, the amnesty program for undocumented migrants, according the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) quoting the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The department said the second extension was in response to the request of the Philippines and several other countries and is seen to benefit at least 6,000 undocumented Filipinos who were unable to avail of the initial amnesty offer.

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, in its Bulletin No. 10, has reported to receive information from the Saudi Immigration (Jawasat) on the details of the provisional extension granted by the Saudi government of the 2017 Amnesty Programme for illegal expatriates in the Kingdom.

But, the host country clarified that the extension is only for those qualified under the criteria set by the original Amnesty Programme which started last March 29, 2017, specifically as follows:

-those with expired umrah, hajj and visit visas
-pilgrims without hajj permits
-those who have crossed the border into the kingdom without permits
-residents with expired residence id card (iqama)
-workers with work permits but with no iqama
-workers who have been declared absconding (huroob) by their employers/sponsors

“Only those expatriates who fall under the abovementioned criteria before the official announcement of the Amnesty on March 19, 2017 will be allowed to avail of the provisional extension of the Amnesty,” the POEA said in a statement.

The provisional extension of the Amnesty will end on 25/1/1439 Hijri, corresponding to October 15, 2017.
With this, it noted that undocumented Filipinos staying in the Kingdom who qualify for the provisional extension as mentioned above should do the following:

-For those who are holders of valid Passports or Travel Documents, you may proceed directly to the Jawasat processing center in your area.

The Jawasat Processing Center in Riyadh is located at 7516 Zaid IbnThabit, Al Malaz, Riyadh. The Center is open from 7:30 am to 2 pm only.

-For those whose Passports or Travel Documents have expired, proceed to the Philippine Embassy to have your Passports and Travel Documents extended.

-For those who do not have a valid Passport or Travel Document, proceed to the Philippine Embassy to apply for Travel Document.

-For those with expired final exit visa issued during the Amnesty, proceed to the Jawasat Processing Center to have your visas renewed. Under the extended Amnesty, expired final exit visas issued by the Jawasat may be extended without penalty.

-For those with expired Umrah, Hajj and Visit visas, proceed to the Jawasat Office at the airport to be stamped for exit. You should have a valid ticket for leaving the Kingdom before proceeding to the Jawasat Office at the airport.
On the other hand, the Philippine Embassy encouraged all Filipinos illegally staying in the Kingdom and qualified for the Extended Amnesty to immediately avail of the program to avoid being arrested, detained and made to pay corresponding penalties imposed by the Saudi government.

The Saudi government first implemented a 90-day amnesty program in March 2017 which was then extended for another 30 days.

DFA data revealed that a total of 8,467 undocumented overseas Filipino workers have initially availed of the offer. (PNA)