The Department of Labor and Employment has repatriated some 5,576 undocumented and stranded overseas Filipino workers as the amnesty program of the Saudi government expired Thursday.
Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say said 2,241 more OFWs who are just awaiting for their plane tickets are due to come home.
“Ready na lahat, may exit visa na sila, may travel documents na. They can leave anytime. Ticket na lang talaga ang kanilang hinihintay,” Say said.
The said batch is composed of 1,161 OFWs from Jeddah and 1,080 from Riyadh.
He also said that 12,218 Filipinos signified interest in availing the amnesty program but some of them were not qualified due to pending cases.
“Maraming nag-eexpress na makauwi sa Pilipinas pero some of them are not qualified for the amnesty program because of their pending absconding cases,” Say said.
He also said that Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III is eyeing to ask the Saudi government for pardon or any help and assistance so the rejected OFWs-availees could go back home.
Meanwhile, repatriated OFWs and their families were given immediate assistance by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) including airport assistance, psycho-social counseling/stress debriefing and medical referral.
The Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood) Program is also available for local and overseas employment referral, livelihood assistance, legal and conciliation services, competency assessment and training assistance to the repatriated and distressed OFWs.