Al-Bilad/Ronaldo Z. Concha
Officials from the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah accompanied 150 undocumented Filipinos to the Al Shumaisi deportation center in Jeddah for fingerprinting to enable them to get their exit visa as they take advantage of the Kingdom’s 90 days amnesty program for runaway foreign workers.
The OFWs together with the ANS Staff, POLO, OWWA and DSWD Officials left the consulate on four buses at 6 am.
Vice Consul Alexander Estomo later told Albilad English Daily that the consulate rented four buses to help the OFWs save their transportation expenses in going to the deportation center.
Al Shumaisi is around 80 kilometers away from Jeddah.
Some of the OFWs who joined the group yesterday were worried about not getting an exit visa because their residency (Iqama) status was still active.
One of the qualification to avail the amnesty program is an applicant must have a runaway (huroob) status.
Hennie Orong who came to work in Saudi Arabia as a family driver but ran away almost 8 years ago said he tried applying for an exit visa twice but failed because he found out that he have no record of huroob (runaway) status in the immigration.
Nevertheless, Orong said he is still confident that the consulate will able to help him solve his problem so he could go home before the amnesty period expires.
“I really want to take advantage of this amnesty. I know that authorities will impose a heavy penalty for all the residency violators after the amnesty period.” Orong says
Estomo said 3,566 Filipinos so far have registered in the consulate 1,447 of them have a valid passport while 2,119 travel documents have been issued for those who don’t have a passport since the amnesty program started last March 29.
Estomo added that 102 of those who earlier received their exit visa left the kingdom and the Philippine government provided 105 free air ticket to those who availed the amnesty.