Over 1,000 Filipino passports turned over to consulate by immigration
The cost of sending home the first batch of overstaying Filipinos is around Dh215,600.
Over 1,000 passports have been turned over to Philippine Consulate by immigration officials in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Philippine consul-general Paul Raymund Cortes said at a press briefing on Monday.
Cortes advised his kababayans (compatriots) who wish to avail of the UAE amnesty program, and whose passports are not with them, to check their passports at the Philippine Consulate in Al Ghusais.
"Over a thousand passport are in our custody. We have a list of all the passports and people can double check if their passport is with us. They can then have it renewed if it has already expired or we can turn it over to them if it is still valid before applying for amnesty," Cortes said.
Meanwhile, a total of 277 overstaying Filipinos were given exit pass in the first nine days (August 1-9) of the 90-day immigration amnesty programme.
Cortes added that the number of people who trooped to the Consulate inquiring about the amnesty went down from 1,000 daily last week to 300 daily since August 12.
The first batch of 98 returning Filipinos, including six minors, will fly out of Dubai on Wednesday, August 15, via Philippine Airlines flight PR 659, which will take off from DXB Terminal 1 at 7:35pm and will arrive at 8:15am the following day (Manila time) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, where they will be met by officials from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Cortes said deputy consul-general Renato Duenas, Jr. will accompany the returning Filipinos from Dubai to Manila. He added that the next two batches of flight back home will be on August 25 and September 3, with around 80-100 people per batch.
Cortes pegged the cost of sending home the first batch of overstaying Filipinos at Dh215,600 or Dh2,200 each for air fare and exit permits. He added that they will receive at least US$100 each (except) the minors as "humble welfare assistance." The money was sourced from DFA's Assistance to Nationals fund.
Earlier the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila said around 100,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) would benefit from UAE's amnesty declaration.
According to DOLE, an expected 87,000 undocumented and overstaying Filipino workers are expected to apply for amnesty in Abu Dhabi and around 14,400 in Dubai. DOLE said there are 646,258 documented OFWs in UAE, with 421,686 of them based in Dubai and 224,572 in Abu Dhabi while 421,686 are in Dubai.
In a report by Manila-based multi-media news outlet, Kodao.org, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III called on overstaying as well as beleaguered OFWs to rectify their status in the UAE or seek voluntary repatriation back to the Philippines.
"Our government is ready to help them if they wish to go back home," Bello said.
OFWs who will seek voluntary repatriation will receive assistance from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), including airport at cash assistance as well as overseas or local employment referral, livelihood assistance, legal at conciliation service, competency assessment at training assistance under DOLE's Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood) Program.
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