3 more days left for illegal OFWs in Kuwait to apply for amnesty

MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday issued an “urgent” reminder to undocumented Filipinos in Kuwait that they have three more days left to register themselves for repatriation.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola appealed to the remaining 6,000 undocumented Filipinos in Kuwait to register themselves at the Philippine Embassy in the next three days to avoid possible arrest and detention.

“We appeal to our kababayans in Kuwait to heed our advice and register for repatriation as soon as possible,” she said, warning undocumented Filipinos who will stay beyond the amnesty program of possible arrest, detention, and deportation by Kuwaiti authorities.

“Our overstaying kababayans in Kuwait should know that as soon as the amnesty is over, they could be arrested and jailed for immigration violations,” she added.

“This is why they have to take advantage of the amnesty offer so we could immediately bring them home,” Arriola stressed.

According to the official, the Embassy has so far repatriated 3,930 of the 8,727 Filipinos identified by the Kuwaiti authorities staying in the Gulf state illegally since the amnesty and repatriation programs started on Jan. 29 and Feb. 11 respectively.

Arriola said another 720 Filipino workers are scheduled to be repatriated in the next two weeks while several more are being processed by additional personnel that were deployed to Kuwait to assist in the repatriation effort.

In addition to airfare, the government is providing transportation to the home provinces of those being repatriated as well as financial assistance, training and help in finding work when they return to the country.

Arriola explained that although the Kuwaiti amnesty offer will end on April 22, undocumented Filipinos must not wait until the last minute and must register by April 12, as it takes 10 days for the Embassy to process their exit requirements.

Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa echoed Undersecretary Arriola’s appeal as he urged his undocumented constituents to seriously consider the amnesty offer and request for repatriation.

“As soon as the extension of the amnesty program ends on April 22, we should expect Kuwaiti authorities to launch a crackdown against foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas,” the envoy said.

“The amnesty is the best and quickest way for our overstaying kababayans to go home and be reunited with their loved ones in the Philippines,” he added.

Villa said he has requested the assistance of members of the Filipino community in Kuwait in convincing undocumented Filipinos to register immediately. (PR)