Close to 3,000 undocumented Pinoys in Saudi Arabia's Western Region receive exit visa
As the amnesty offered by Saudi Arabia to all illegal foreign workers enters its final month, Consulate officials in Jeddah said close to 3,000 undocumented Filipinos so far have received their exit visas and almost half of them have left the Kingdom.
Consul Rj Sumague said of 2,984 undocumented OFWs and their dependents who received their exit visas, 1,300 already left home.
Sumague said the government has shouldered the air tickets of some 1,000 of those who left Saudi Arabia.
In the span of six days, the Consulate, with the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs' Rapid Response Team, was able to send home 530 undocumented Filipinos in three flights from May 23, 24 and 29.
Sumague said he felt saddened that some Filipinos did not show up for their flights.
"Nakakalungkot [kasi] we issued a total of 550 tickets in three flights but 530 only went home," he said.
"We have some of our kababayan stopped at the immigration because of some problems appeared on their records such as police case while around 15 of them did not show up on their flight schedule," Sumague added.
As of May 29, Sumague said the number of undocumented Filipinos who applied for amnesty were 5, 870 while 4,548 of them were already endorsed to the deportation center.
Under the amnesty program, the Saudi Arabia government gives residency and labor law violators 90 days to leave the country without penalties.
Sumague appealed anew to those who have not yet applied for the amnesty to do it while there is still time as the amnesty will expire on the last day of June.
Government estimates show undocumented Filipinos in Saudi Arabia could be as many as 60,000. —KBK, GMA News