By Roy Mabasa
Another 200 undocumented Filipinos who were granted amnesty by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government are arriving today, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
This brings to 2,481 the total number of Filipinos repatriated by the Philippine government since the UAE amnesty program began in August.
The repatriates will arrive at 8 a.m. today on board a Philippine Airlines flight from Dubai.
The government shouldered the cost of their immigration penalty fees and airfare and will provide each of the repatriates with cash assistance upon arrival.
Earlier, the UAE government extended the amnesty for another 30 days, until December 1, shortly after the three-month program ended on October 30.
The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai urged all undocumented Filipinos in the Emirates to seize the opportunity and apply for amnesty.
There are approximately 10,000 Filipinos in Abu Dhabi and 20,000 in Dubai who are deemed eligible under the amnesty program.
It was learned that the amnesty was extended another month due to technical issues involving the amnesty system, as well as the delays in the issuance of travel document and other procedures arranged by different countries’ embassies for their nationals.
The Emirates said the nine amnesty centers in Shahama Center in Abu Dhabi, the Al Aweer Center in Dubai and at the foreigners’ residence buildings in Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Abu Dhabi Emirate will remain open until the end of the new deadline.