PhilEmb Advisory: Coverage of Royal Pardon & Procedures for Repatriation for Overstayers


Advisory No. 007-2011

26 January 2011

Advisory: Coverage of Royal Pardon & Procedures for Repatriation for Overstayers

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh recalls that the Saudi Government had graciously announced on 22 September 2010 a Royal Pardon or Amnesty for a period of six months for those who overstayed their visas and violated residency rules. The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh immediately sent on 22 September 2010 a Note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to clarify the coverage and procedures for the Royal Pardon. The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah sent a note on the same subject to the Saudi MFA Makkah Branch on 25 September 2010. 

Procedures to avail of Royal Pardon for Overstayers (Hajj, Umrah and Visit Visa]

On 1 January 2011, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh received the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ reply in Note No. 94/77/21403 dated 19 Muharram 1432 Hejira [25 December 2010] with the following information:

With reference to those who violated their hajj, umrah and visit visa, their fingerprints shall be taken by the Wafeeden Departments and then they shall be processed accordingly and allowed to leave. 

With reference to those who are visitors [on family visit visa], 

* They should proceed to the Directorate for Passports [Jawazat], 

* They should settle fees for extension of the visit visa [penalty is SR200 per month. The SR10,000 penalty has been suspended for the period of the Royal Pardon.] 

* Their status should be corrected at the computer database [of the Directorate for Passports] 

* The visit visa holder is also required to present him or herself to the General Directorate for Passports or Jawazat in the respective regions for biometrics [fingerprinting] and finalization of his repatriation. 

According to the authorities, all overstaying nationals, including those availing of the Royal Pardon, will be blacklisted from returning to the Kingdom. Overstaying foreign nationals apprehended after the 23 March 2011 will be required to pay a heavy penalty and may be subject to imprisonment.

In its reply, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not include any mention of those with expired iqamas; those who came to the Kingdom for employment with a sponsor and have stayed beyond the validity of their iqama; or those who absconded from their original employer and seek repatriation. It is therefore clear that, as mentioned in various news reports, absconding workers or TNTs are not included in the Royal Pardon or “Amnesty”. 

Requirements for Repatriation of Overstayers – With Sponsor

Various officials of the Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Riyadh, Al-Khobar and the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah have made representations with the Saudi concerned authorities, particularly the General Directorate for Passports [Jawazat] and the Directorate for Expatriates [Wafeedin] and have been informed of the existing requirements for repatriation of absconding foreigners. 

Following is the general procedures and requirements, which could vary depending on a case-to-case basis: 

1) The absconding or overstaying worker should contact and proceed to the nearest Philippine Oversees Labor Office and provide the following:

a. Information on the sponsor or employer,

b. The original or copy of the iqama,

c. The original or copy of passport with the entry details

2)      POLO officer shall interview the OFW to determine his/her status;

3)       POLO shall contact the sponsor to negotiate for:

a.      The “No Objection certification” by the original sponsor;

b.      The Settlement Agreement or mukhalasa between the employee and employer wherein both parties sign that they have no claims. In case of the employee, this ensures that he has received all his monetary claims from the employer. In case of the employer, this ensures that he has no monetary claims against the employee, such as debts and other possible claims.

4)     In parallel, POLO assists the OFW to accomplish his / her sinumpaang salaysay for endorsement to POEA as necessary;

 5)      POLO, through POEA and OWWA, will request the deploying agency to facilitate payment of penalties if any and provide the repatriation ticket

a. Settlement of penalties for renewal of iqama [SR600 per year]

b. Withdrawal of absconding report SR2000

6)  Once the No Objection Certificate and Settlement Agreement are obtained, POLO shall make representations with the Saudi General Directorate for Passports [Jawazat] for the issuance of the exit visa. The Jawazat requires the following:

a. Arabic Endorsement Letter of POLO

b. Presentation of No Objection Certificate and Settlement Agreement or mukhalasa;

c. Settlement of applicable penalties;

d. Valid passport or, if passport is not surrendered by the employer or has been lost, a travel document which shall be issued by the Consular Section upon endorsement of POLO;

e. Fingerprinting and eye scanning at the Jawazat;

f. One way ticket to the Philippines

7) The Saudi Jawazat, upon compliance with the above, shall issue the exit visa.

 Jurisdiction issues

Filipinos who have overstayed their hajj, umrah and visit visas are advised that the procedures for the Royal Pardon or Amnesty for these categories are identical and applicable in all regions and provinces of the Kingdom.

The Embassy reiterates its advice to all Filipinos seeking repatriation, who came to work with a sponsor and have absconded but had not filed a complaint with the Saudi Labor Office or Saudi police for private rights such as unpaid salaries that they should seek the assistance of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in their city of residence, whether POLO Riyadh, POLO Jeddah or POLO Al-Khobar.

Filipinos seeking repatriation should not travel to other cities to seek repatriation. In case of apprehension by Saudi authorities, your repatriation could be stalled by the need to take you back to your city of residence for processing and clearance from your sponsor/employer. 

The attached Advisory No. 2011-001 dated 4 January 2011 issued by the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah entitled “Saudi Guidelines issued for those who overstay their umrah, hajj, visitors visa and seek deportationis meant for those who overstayed their hajj, umrah and visitors visa and live in Jeddah.

On instruction from the host government, the Embassy and the Consulate in Jeddah strongly advise Filipinos not to congregate at public places claiming that they do not have any proof of their identity, and seek repatriation or deportation. This would require Saudi authorities to be stricter as they would need to closely scrutinize such claims and not allow expatriates to leave the country until proof of their identity is submitted and their investigation completed while undergoing prolonged detention.

This would also lead to a permanent ban to return to Saudi Arabia on these expatriates.

For questions, please call the following numbers:

For police and detention cases, death, and other emergencies

* The Embassy’s Assistance to Nationals Section – Riyadh  056 989 3301: 

POLO Riyadh 056 509 4862:  For employment and welfare issues in the Riyadh Region

POLO Central Regional 050 753 7997: For employment and welfare issues in the Central Region: Provinces of Qassim, Hail, Al-Jouf, Northern Border

POLO Eastern Region 050 126 9742: For employment and welfare issues in the Eastern Region: Dammam, Jubail, Al-Khobar, Hofuf, Ras Tanura, Hafr Al-Batin

* Assistance to Nationals in Jeddah 0555 219 613For police and detention cases, death, and other emergencies

POLO Jeddah 0569 819 720 : For employment and welfare concerns

-end-

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