10,000 OFWs in Kuwait seek repatriation

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AS MANY as 10,000 Filipinos in Kuwait who are expected to avail of the Gulf country’s amnesty program for overstaying foreigners are being processed for repatriation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

The Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait are rushing the processing of the OFWs for the amnesty that Manila arranged with the Kuwaiti government, DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said.

“The Embassy and POLO in Kuwait expect that more than 10,000 Filipinos who have overstayed their visas are qualified for repatriation,” Arriola said.

The amnesty program was approved by the Kuwaiti government last month upon representations made by the Philipine government through the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. The Philippine government shall settle the immigration penalties of overstaying Filipinos.

On Monday, the DFA received the first batch of OFWs who were repatriated on three commercial flights that left Kuwait on Sunday afternoon. The OFWs who arrived on Monday were among those who availed the amnesty program.

To date, some 2,229 Filipinos in Kuwait have been issued travel documents, and 1,754 of them have been granted immigration clearances.

Arrangements have been made with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific for the repatriation of those already issued travel documents and all those who want to return to the country, the DFA said. The Philippine government is shouldering the plane tickets of the repatriates.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment enforced on Monday (Feb. 12) an administrative order banning deployment of OFWs to Kuwait after President Rodrigo R. Duterte learned of the abuses and inhumane treatment of Filipino domestic helpers in the Gulf state.

(Video shared by Hardy Caligtan shows Filipino repatriates aboard a plane flying to the Philippines.)

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