MANILA–More than 6,000 remaining undocumented Filipinos in Kuwait are urged to register early for repatriation, with amnesty program granted by the Kuwaiti government expiring in a month.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Filipinos who wanted to go home should not wait until last minute to avail of the program and gave them until April 12, 2018 to register for repatriation.
The agency issued the deadline after the Philippine Embassy reported a drop in the number of undocumented Filipino workers registering for repatriation when Kuwait announced a two-month extension that expires on April 22.
“Our kababayans in Kuwait must realize that we cannot do things overnight and they should not wait until the last minute before they sign up for repatriation,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said in a statement.
Arriola said a total of 3,668 Filipinos have been flown home since February 11, 2018 when the Philippine Embassy started repatriating undocumented workers who availed of Kuwait’s amnesty program.
The DFA is concerned about the more than 6,000 undocumented workers who still have not signed up for repatriation and who the Embassy believes would register only during the last few days before the amnesty deadline.
Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa echoed Arriola’s appeal, saying undocumented workers should register as soon as possible so they could be immediately flown home.
“It takes at least 10 days to process the documents of our kababayans and get the necessary clearances from Kuwaiti authorities before we can put them on the plane to Manila,” Villa said.
Since Kuwait announced a two-month extension to the amnesty for overstaying foreign workers, Villa said the number of Filipinos registering with the Embassy has gone down.
“Filipinos always want to do things at the last minute but in this case, we cannot be expected to handle a deluge of applications especially during the last few days of the amnesty period,” Villa said.
“We are appealing to our kababayans to go to the Embassy as soon as possible and get themselves registered,” he said.
“We want to make sure no one is left behind.” (PNA)