MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay wrote Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud this week to ask for another extension of the Nov. 3 deadline for illegal workers in the Kingdom to rectify their status or return home.
Binay, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers concerns, said he wrote a letter to the King on Tuesday, saying “thousands of Filipinos” are still hoping to correct their employment status at this time.
“As I acknowledge that thousands of Filipinos have already benefited from this humanitarian Royal Decree, I respectfully appeal for an extension of the 3 November 2013 deadline for foreign workers to correct their employment status in the Kingdom,” he said in his letter, parts of which were posted on his social networking accounts.
“(D)ue to the large number of Filipino workers seeking correction of their employment status, many of them may not be able to meet the 3 November deadline,” he added.
On his Twitter account, Binay said, “Let us hope that the King grants our request.”
A Saudi crackdown on illegal workers looms due to the “Saudization” policy or nitaqat, which encourages the employment of Saudi nationals in private firms.
King Abdullah initially ordered a three-month reprieve to let illegal migrant workers correct their immigration or labor status in the Kingdom. He eventually extended the deadline to November 3, upon the request of Saudi companies and employers, who reportedly cited the backlog in the processing of documents in certain offices.
Binay reiterated that the Philippine government is thankful for the King’s earlier decision to extend the deadline to Nov. 3. The initial deadline had been in July.
He also said the Philippine government “is exerting its utmost to assist undocumented Filipino workers legalize their status.”
Citing figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Binay said 4,111 Filipinos have been repatriated by the Philippine government but 1,716 are still waiting to go home.
Meanwhile, Philippine officials in the Kingdom have made a last call to Filipinas with children to undergo the procedures that will allow them to correct their status or return home before the grace period lapses.
In an advisory, the embassy particularly urged the Filipinas who passed DNA tests to go to the Al-Wafideen Office in Sumeisi Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 to 11 a.m. for fingerprinting or basamat.
It said this will allow them to get the appropriate visas to return home along with their children. (MNS)