DFA unveils travel exemptions for OFWs eyeing return to Libya

DFA unveils travel exemptions for OFWs eyeing return to Libya
But the POEA says the exemptions may be revoked if the situation in Libya worsens

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday, June 14, announced travel exemptions for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who need to return to Libya.

However, these exemptions may be withdrawn if the situation in the strife-torn country further escalates.

In May, the DFA urged Filipinos to flee Libya, raising crisis alert level 3 (voluntary repatriation phase), as the country is believed to be on the brink of civil war.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) earlier imposed a total deployment ban on all OFWs bound for Libya.

But following consultations among the DFA, POEA, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Filipino workers who fall under the following categories will be allowed to return to Libya:

  1. Household service staff employed by diplomats in foreign embassies
  2. Those employed by the United Nations and other international organizations in Libya
  3. OFWs working off-shore in oil rig platforms, provided that they will not pass through mainland Libya nor spend their vacation there
  4. Those working for multinational companies, government hospitals and schools as well as for the Libyan National Oil Company
  5. Filipinos who are married to Libyan nationals

To be allowed to return to Libya, these OFWs will need to secure a letter from their employers guaranteeing their safety, security and repatriation in case the situation in Libya worsens.

The DFA reiterated its warning that crisis alert level 3 remains in effect, and OFWs are urged to avail of the Philippine government’s voluntary repatriation program.

In POEA Resolution No. 09 posted by administrator Hans Leo Candac, OFWs who will avail of these exemptions need to submit the following documents for the processing of their Overseas Employment Certificates:

  1. POLO-verified employer contingency plan for the evacuation and  repatriation of the workers; and
  2. POLO-verified employer undertaking guaranteeing the safety of the workers during their stay in Libya, and readiness to immediately repatriate as circumstances may require and at no cost to the worker.

The POEA said it would coordinate with the DFA for “for continuous monitoring and updates with respect to the political and security situation in Libya.”

This includes the identification of dangerous areas or “no-go zones.”

The resolution said the exemptions would be nullified if alert level 4 is raised or if the DFA recommends the reimposition of a total deployment ban. – Rappler.com

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