456 Pinoys have received exit visas since start of Saudi amnesty
Some 456 undocumented overseas Filipinos have been given exit visas, with the assistance of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, since the Saudi Arabia government's amnesty program started last March 29, consulate officials said on Monday.
Consul General Imelda Panolong said that, of the 456 undocumented Filipinos, some of whom were minors, 104 have flown home using air-tickets provided by the Philippine Government
Around 3,500 undocumented OFW’s have so far sought the assistance of the consulate general under the amnesty program, Panolong added.
Apart from assisting the undocumented OFWs in the processing of their exit visas at the Immigration counters, the Consulate General also provides free bus services to the Saudi Immigration office in Shumaisy, which is about 100 kilometers from Jeddah; and to the airport once the undocumented OFWs have secured their visas.
The DFA, DSWD and POLO/OWWA-Jeddah are providing the plane tickets for those who do not have the means to buy tickets.
Also, Philippine government support was not limited to Jeddah. The Consulate General also has mobile amnesty services in other parts of the Western Region of Saudi Arabia, such as Abha/Khamis Mushayt, Jizan, Najran, Madinah, and Tabuk.
Once they arrive in the Philippines, the repatriated OFWs can avail of livelihood and other socio-economic support programs being provided by DSWD, DOLE, OWWA and TESDA.
The Saudi government's amnesty program will last for 90 days. The amnesty allows illegal workers to leave the Kingdom without fines or jail sentence for violating residency and labor regulations.
Panolong has called on undocumented OFWs who have not yet applied for amnesty to visit the Consulate at the soonest possible time before the program ends.
“I would like to reiterate our call to our Kababayans who are undocumented in the Kingdom to avail themselves of the golden opportunity to go home to the Philippines,” the consul general said. — Ronaldo Z. Concha/DVM, GMA News