4/11/2013, RIYADH: Why on earth those undocumented Filipino workers in the Kingdom are hard headed enough to comply legalization process under the Saudi government amnesty program and chose to stay in the Kingdom? Does the three months grace period not enough to conform requirements to complete paper works? I don’t think so. There are many remedies waiting for them during those periods; to rectify their working status or decide to go home for good.
The Philippine Embassy on 10 October 2013 announced in their website that male Filipino worker who wishes to be repatriated before the 3 November 2013 deadline, but lack the required original iqama or passport and thereby have been unable to process exit visa to contact Embassy and labor office. The Philippine Embassy under the Ambassadorship of H.E. Ezzedin Tago has arranged with the Office of the Emir for the creation of an interagency committee to look into the cases of those with no documents in preparation for their repatriation. The Philippine labor office was even open during Eid holidays to serve their distress nationals who want to avail the Saudi government amnesty program.
There were even separate facilities for mothers with unducmented children whether they are registered or not to proceed to the embassy’s Um Al-Hammam field office and avail the additional few days’ extension for DNA testing as provided by the Saudi authorities.
DNA testing is an initial step prior to processing at the Jawazat for final exit for those undocumented Filipina mother and children.
However, despite of the announcement and notices from various Filipino groups to their members and friends, a few have been heeding the call.
What’s wrong? What’s on the mind of our fellow OFWs? I can’t find any answers to those simple questions that I, myself asked. Are our embassy has failed to reach our fellow OFW in distress? The answer is No either, because the just concluded amnesty program of the Saudi government was not only for Filipinos, in fact it was for all expatriates in the Kingdom. It is a national instruction or order from Saudi authorities to all foreign workers to correct their status or leave the Kingdom for good. I think our Embassy and or our Consulate had exhausted all possible means to help our OFW in distress. Maybe the three months time extension was not enough or there will be a personal neglect or the “Filipino manana habit” has something to do with it.
Today is the day to reckon, there will be no excuses. Whether we don’t like it, our own action and by ignoring to follow orders has been substantiated, and therefore we must face the consequences. The theory of flight says “for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”.
The Saudi authorities will start a massive crackdown to those expatriates who failed to rectify their statuses. There will be a knock on your door at any given time and as what Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al_Hamzi, Director General of the Passport Department said “we have plans to deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities and prisons have more capacity and are located across the Kingdom, unlike deportation centers, which have a limited capacity.”
A Saudi colleague of mine at work said “after the crackdown and cleansing period, the increase of crimes that involves foreigners will be lessen and corruption in few offices perhaps be eradicated which year by year became a disease in our system”.
In a press conference, Deputy Labor Minister Mufrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani said labor inspectors would visit commercial establishments, construction sites, operations and maintenance offices, retail outlets, catering companies, cafes. They will crosscheck workers’ identities with their legal documentation to ensure that workers are legal.
Deputy Labor Minister Al-Haqbani was thankful to foreign workers who have participated in the development of the Kingdom. “We still want you but we want foreigners to remain in the Kingdom lawfully” he added.
The Passport Department and other Saudi government security agencies can now exercise and strengthen its internal security measures against terrorist activities and infiltration; crimes such as drug smuggling, manufacturing and alcohol use, visa forgery, immoral act and back door activities. It can easily solve crimes and prevent those expats or foreigners with criminal backgrounds to return the country with false names or new identity.
Again folks, it is not Saudi government harassment and or violation of human rights, it is for the good of all expatriates, the employers and the country as well; and the last but not the least “the reality of Saudization is yet to come”. – BongA