Saudi extends deadline for illegal workers

Paterno Esmaquel II
(2nd UPDATE) The Philippines advises undocumented Filipino workers in Saudi 'to take advantage' of the extended grace period

DEADLINE EXTENDED. Foreign illegal laborers wait in a long queue outside the Saudi immigration offices at the Al-Isha quarter of the Al-Khazan district, west of Riyadh, on May 28. File photo from AFP/Fayez Nureldine

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The government of Saudi Arabia has extended to November the grace period for undocumented workers to legalize their status, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Tuesday, July 2.

The new deadline is November 3, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino worker (OFW) concerns, thanked the Saudi government. “The extension definitely eases the anxieties of thousands of kababayans and their families,” Binay said in a statement.

The announcement came after countries with workers in Saudi, including the Philippines, requested it to extend the grace period.

Saudi initially set Wednesday, July 3, as the deadline for undocumented workers to legalize their status. Violators face up to two years in prison and fines of at least 100,000 riyal or $27,000.

“Undocumented Filipinos are advised to take advantage of this extension, and immediately proceed to the concerned Saudi government agencies or to seek assistance of our embassy and consulate in Saudi Arabia for their repatriation or the regularization of their status,” Hernandez said.

He added, “We also advise our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) to cooperate with the embassy and the consulate in order to make their repatriation and regularization procedures more efficient.”

On Tuesday, he said, 15 more Filipinos from Saudi will return to the Philippines, bringing the number of repatriates to 815. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.