Approximately 7,500 Filipinos based in the UAE have received amnesty since August of this year, as shared by a top diplomat. However, more than half of this number chose to stay in the country, according to a report by Gulf News.
Since the amnesty program was offered back in August 1, the UAE had wanted to give illegal foreigners and residency violators the chance to go back to their home countries without having to pay overstay fines, getting blacklisted, and to rectify their residency status — with assistance from both the UAE and foreign embassies in the country.
OFWs Continue to Avail Amnesty from UAE Government
Earlier this month, the UAE had announced that they will be extending the amnesty program for another month, until December 1.
For his part, Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes revealed that both consular missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have assisted close to 3,000 Filipinos for repatriation since August, whereas over 4,300 have expressed their decision to rectify their residency status by availing a jobseeker’s visa or by getting a sponsor in the country.
Cortes shared that most of the repatriates have resided in the UAE for at least five to six years, on average. He added that a majority of them had already raised a family in the country without having any legal papers to support their stay.
Meanwhile, others have sponsored their children to move into the country, but unfortunately lost their jobs and became unable to renew their visa status, Cortes pointed out.
This being the case, a lot of our overseas Filipino workers have chosen to stay in the UAE without legal papers, settling for part-time jobs with meagre wages and ultimately ending up as illegal residents.
The Philippine Embassy’s Assistance-to-Nationals
This month has seen the largest batch of repatriated Filipinos at 200, ever since the amnesty program began.
As part of the government’s Assistance-to-Nationals program headed by the DFA, the government has extended financial coverage of all exit fees as well as the removal of absconding fees of nearly 3,000 repatriates. Moreover, the government shouldered their one-way ticket to Manila, on top of a USD 100-worth (AED 367) cash welfare assistance, roughly amounting to AED 7.8 million.
As of now, the PCG assists an average of 50 amnesty seekers every day, down from almost 1,000 people daily during the first few weeks of the amnesty period.
Cortes reminded his compatriots that they still have approximately three weeks to settle their documents and bank cases, and to take advantage of the UAE’s (extended) amnesty program before it ends.