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30 November 2023

Saudi extends deadline for overstaying Pinoys to leave

By Correspondent

Filipinos with no legal documents in Saudi Arabia have until November 3 to fix their papers, as Riyadh granted them a four-month extension to regularise their status or face deportation.

“Undocumented Filipinos are advised to take advantage of this extension and immediately proceed to the concerned Saudi government agencies or to seek assistance from our embassy and consulate in Saudi Arabia for their repatriation or the regularisation of their status,” Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said.

There are about 10,000 Filipinos who have overstayed in Saudi Arabia after they either lost their jobs or ran away from abusive employers—and are now stranded in the kingdom after a crackdown by authorities against foreigners without legal documents.

“But then came these guidelines which offered to regularise their stay in Saudi Arabia, so I think some of them have decided not to come home but instead to regularise their employment,” Hernandez said.

The Philippine missions in Saudi Arabia do not have enough personnel to process the papers of the overstaying Filipinos within a short period of time.

On April 6, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah issued the first extension consisting of a three-month grace period, which ended on July 3, following a crackdown on overstaying foreigners that started from March 8. The kingdom has implemented its ‘Saudisation’ policy, which gives top priority to the employment of Saudis over foreigners.

Hernandez said that other labour-sending countries have likewise asked Riyadh to grant another grace period to allow their embassies and consulates to repatriate their overstaying nationals.

Saudi Arabia is home to the biggest number of overseas Filipino workers at 1.5 million, out of the more than 10 million OFWs worldwide.