Philippines urges its illegal workers in Kuwait to avail of amnesty

May. 31, 2007

MANILA The DFA has urged Filipinos staying illegally in Kuwait to avail of the amnesty granted by the Kuwaiti government to illegal aliens.

In his report to DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo M. Endaya said that the two-month amnesty from 1 May to 30 June 2007 was granted by the Kuwaiti government for illegal aliens to allow them to leave Kuwait without having to pay penalties or face prosecution.

Ambassador Endaya explained that illegal aliens who voluntarily leave Kuwait under the terms of the amnesty may reenter that country, provided they obtain lawful entry permits; those who do not leave under the amnesty, however, will be arrested, prosecuted, and banned from returning to Kuwait.

The Ambassador said that the Embassy expects around 2,000 to 3,000 OFWs to avail of the amnesty, and Embassy personnel have been mobilized to attend to their needs. The Ambassador has also been speaking to Filipino community groups to spread the news about the amnesty.

Ambassador Endaya added that, since the announcement of the amnesty, local Immigration authorities have been regularly conducting immigration raids. Embassy officials have therefore also intensified their rounds of police stations to see whether Filipinos have been arrested in the raids, and to provide assistance to them.

As of 23 May, the Embassy in Kuwait has issued nearly a thousand travel documents to Filipinos who wished to take advantage of the amnesty. The Departments Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) reports that, as of 29 May, 77 Filipinos have arrived home from Kuwait, with a further 34 expected to arrive on 31 May. The other Filipinos remaining in Kuwait are awaiting issuance by the Kuwaiti government of their exit permits.

I urge all Filipinos staying illegally in Kuwait to avail of the amnesty granted by the Kuwaiti government. I especially call on those who are in Kuwait with intent to travel to and work in Iraq to return home and not place their lives in great danger, Ambassador Endaya said. END

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