4,000 Pinoys repatriated from Saudi-A A +A
Friday, October 18, 2013
MANILA -- The total number of repatriates from Saudi Arabia has breached the 4,000-mark, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday, adding that the embassy and the consulate general in the oil-rich kingdom are continuing its efforts to repatriate undocumented Filipino workers from there.
The arrival of 79 Filipinos on Wednesday brought the total number of repatriates to 4,003, which included 287 mothers and 317 children.
Of this total, 2,274 came from Riyadh wile 1,729 came from Jeddah. There are also 1,761 Filipinos still awaiting their immigration clearances from Saudi officials.
Philippine government activated the repatriation program in response to the kingdom's crackdown on illegal workers. This was after the Saudization law was passed, which prioritizes the employment of Saudi nationals. It also wanted to get rid of illegally staying foreign workers in the country.
According to unofficial figures, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have been illegally staying in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom initially scheduled to implement the Saudization program, which will deport foreign workers mostly from the Philippines, India and Nepal, on July 3 this year, but decided to defer it for four months.
This gave the Philippine government until November 3 to regularize the stay of Filipinos there and repatriate those without proper documents.
As many as 1.5 million Filipinos are believed to be in the kingdom, mostly working in the domestic sector as household helps.
Raul Hernandez, the Foreign Affairs spokesperson, assured Filipinos there that the "embassy and consulate general continue to work closely with concerned Saudi authorities for the expeditious issuance of exit visas for the remaining Filipinos who have signified their desire to return to the Philippine during the grace period granted by the Saudi government."
In mid-April this year, more than a thousand Filipinos camped outside the Philippine mission in Jeddah to demand officials there to seek the extension of the implementation of the Saudization law, as well as to expedite the process of their repatriation. (CVB/Sunnex)