The Saudi government has announced a new set of guidelines that will govern foreign workers violating labor and residency laws as it implements the Saudization policy.
Citing a report from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said that the oil-rich kingdom reiterated that illegal workers who stayed in the country without proper documents will be apprehended, penalized and deported.
At the same time, anyone who employ illegal workers or aid them “by any means” will be pursued.
“Employers will bear the cost of deportation of illegal workers, except where the foreign worker works for himself in which case he will bear the cost of his own deportation,” the department said, quoting the provisions of the guideline.
The Saudi government will provide plane tickets for those who can’t afford to buy their own, the guideline added.
“Overstayers will be deported at the expense of the employer, or, if he works for himself, the company or person who sponsored his visit will bear the cost of deportation.”
Furthermore, it urged government agencies and individual employers to make sure their workers or employees correct their status in the kingdom or apply for repatriation in time.
“Deported foreign workers shall be prohibited from returning to the kingdom,” the guideline reiterated, adding that violators will remain in detention centers until their scheduled deportation.
“The embassy urges all Filipino nationals in the Kingdom to familiarize themselves with the new rules,” the Foreign Affairs department said.
In the meantime, the embassy and the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah advised all those who have taken steps to process their final exit and repatriation to remain calm and not panic.
The embassy and the consulate continue to coordinate with concerned authorities for the processing of the final exit visas of those waiting to be repatriated.
Currently, Philippine officials in the kingdom are confirming the procedures and timeframe for those who lost their original residence card or their iqamas. They are also assisting those who lost their passports with the border number, as well as those who have yet to encode their fingerprints.
The embassy and the consulate have likewise created special roving teams that will go around jails, prisons and detention centers around the kingdom to check if there are any Filipinos arrested or apprehended for violating the policy.