THE Philippine embassy in Kuwait has appealed to all undocumented Filipinos and those with absconding cases to come home and avail of the amnesty program being offered by the Kuwaiti government.
The embassy made the appeal following the Kuwaiti government’s announcement of an amnesty program on April 1 to further control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the kingdom.
Philippine Consul General to Kuwait Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot said that the month-long amnesty program “shows not only the Kuwaiti government’s seriousness in fighting the Covid-19, but also the Kuwaiti spirit of generosity to its more than three million expatriates during these trying times.”
“I hope that Filipinos with expired residence visas and absconding cases will take advantage of the amnesty program of the Kuwaiti government, similar to how more than 5,000 of our kababayan (fellowmen) availed themselves of amnesty in 2018,” Lomondot said in a statement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said 303 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returned from Kuwait Sunday midnight.
“The Kuwaiti government extended amnesty to them to give them a chance to reunite with their families during this time of the global pandemic,” the DFA said.
The Philippine embassy in Kuwait said over 500 amnesty grantees have arrived in the Philippines since April 1.
Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. and Vice Consul Charleson Hermosura said that amnesty grantees would be allowed to leave Kuwait without paying any penalty or fine, and will be given the chance to return to Kuwait anytime.
“I wish to commend the government of Kuwait, particularly the Ministry of Interior (MOI), for coming up with a well thought out amnesty program wherein the amnesty grantees will be given temporary shelter, with food and medical provisions, and one-way Kuwait Airways tickets to the Philippines—all at the Kuwaiti government’s expense,” Hermosura said.
Once their applications are approved, amnesty grantees will not be allowed to leave the processing center, and will be sent straight to a MOI-designated shelter where they will wait for their flight back to the Philippines. Food and medical provisions are available at the shelter near Kuwait International Airport.
A total of 5,085 overseas Filipinos, including 148 infants, availed themselves of the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty program from February to April 2018.
With its 240,000-strong Filipino community, the Philippines is the third largest expatriate community in Kuwait, behind India and Egypt.
The Sri Lankan and the Bangladeshi communities are also expected to benefit from this year’s amnesty program.