VP Binay to Saudi OFWs: submit passports to Embassy

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay called on Filipino workers in Saudi to submit their passports to the Philippine embassy, citing the looming deadline for the correction of their work status.

Around 10,461 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Riyadh and Jeddah have yet to surrender their passports for correction as of 8 June, according to the Philippine embassy in Riyadh.

“Our OFWs need to submit their passports immediately so our embassy could update their work status or process their papers for repatriation,” said Binay, presidential adviser on OFW affairs.

“They have been given enough time. They should grab this opportunity if they want to continue working there or come home to the Philippines,” he added.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud granted a 3-month reprieve for foreigners illegally working in the Kingdom to sort out their documents and abide by Saudi labor laws. The grace period will end in July 8, 2013.

OFWs who prefer to continue working in Saudi must secure an updated passport and an employer who can issue them their iqama or working permit.

Meanwhile, those who want to be repatriated need to go to the Saudi deportation and submit their passport and iqama.

In the absence of a passport, OFWs may secure travel documents from the Philippine embassy or consulate for free.

The Philippine embassy in Riyadh has retrieved and released 1,541 passports in Riyadh, 925 in Jeddah, and 119 in the Easter Region.

The embassy has also helped buy the tickets of 113 repatriates, including 22 males, 22 females and five minors. It is in the process of booking tickets for 332 OFWs.

Saudi is home to around 1.5 million Filipino workers, 20,000 of whom are said to be undocumented.#