By Christina Hermoso
A Catholic Church leader has called on undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the United Arab Emirates to take advantage of the amnesty program being offered by the Gulf state.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, encouraged undocumented Filipino workers in the UAE “to avail of the amnesty program to legitimize their stay in their host country.”
“We appeal to our OFWs to avail of this amnesty so as to regularize their residency status or be able to seek new employment status,” Santos said in a CBCP News post. “It is very beneficial and a blessing for our undocumented OFWs to correct their immigration status or repatriate without penalty to our country,” the bishop added.
The amnesty program offered by the UAE government that started on Aug. 1 and will end on October 31 covers all migrant workers who have overstayed their visa to leave the country without any legal repercussions. Illegally staying migrant workers are being fined daily for overstaying their permits and are prevented from leaving until they pay the penalties.
Santos lauded the Gulf state for offering the amnesty program to migrant workers. “This amnesty program is a very consoling and compassionate move of the UAE government,” he said.