Distressed Filipinos repatriated from Saudi Arabia reach 1,101

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With the arrival on Friday of 21 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Saudi Arabia, the total number of repatriated Filipinos from the Middle Eastern kingdom will reach 1,101.

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Raul Hernandez, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman, said in a press briefing that 20 undocumented Filipinos from Saudi Arabia arrived in Manila Thursday, and 21 more are expected the following day.

Of the 1,101 repatriates, 521 are from Riyadh and eastern region and 580 from Jeddah.

Undocumented and overstaying Filipinos are camped outside the Philippine missions in Riyadh and Jeddah since mid-April because of the Saudization law that orders Saudi companies to prioritize the hiring of locals.

It also triggered an intense crackdown against illegal foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.

“Undocumented Filipinos in Saudi Arabia are likewise advised not to deal with fixers or middlemen who promise to expedite their applications for exit visas or regularization for a fee,” Hernandez said.

As of July 15, some 108 Filipinos are camped near the consulate in Jeddah while 135 mothers and their children are staying in the temporary shelter provided by the Philippine government.

The distressed OFWs have until November to legalize their stay or return to the Philippines. The deadline for correcting the status of the distressed OFWs was extended from July.

BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON

 

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