The number of Filipino expatriates availing the Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) three-month amnesty for illegal residents has increased from 41 to 61, an official of the Philippine embassy in Doha has said.
Speaking to Gulf Times, first secretary and consul general Roussel R Reyes noted that some 20 new cases have been added to their list from September 24 to October 4.
“But we do not have the actual number of Filipino expatriates who were already sent home,” he said, while reiterating that the programme, which runs until December 1, covers expatriates who absconded from their employers/sponsors but without any other pending cases.
Reyes urged other Filipino expatriates in similar circumstances to avail the programme immediately. MoI’s Search and Follow up Department (SFD) requires applicants to bring their passport and a confirmed plane ticket.
“I advise them to go to SFD right away, they should not wait for December 1,” Reyes said, as he stressed that SFD’s procedure is fast. “They will not be penalised or detained.”
Nearly all the cases the embassy recorded fell under “absconding” while a few were cases of non-renewal of residence permits, he said. “Most of them are runaway household service workers (HSWs) and male workers.”
The official also advised applicants to make sure they bring all the necessary requirements before heading to SFD to avoid being rejected.
According to MoI, about 6,000 illegal residents had availed the programme in the first three months between March 21 and June 20 during the last amnesty announced in 2004.
The MoI notice is also available in Arabic, English, Hindi, Nepali, Urdu, Tamil, Tagalog, Sinhalese, Malayalam, Indonesian and Bengali.
Under the amnesty scheme, foreigners residing in Qatar in violation of the provisions of Law No 4 of 2009 Regulating the Entry, Exit, Residence and Sponsorship of Expatriates can exit the country without any legal consequences.
“We are doing our best to reach out to all our compatriots who have been ‘overstaying’ in the country,” Reyes added.
For questions and inquiries, Filipino expatriates can also call the embassy hotline numbers 5527-5123 (consular services), 6644-6303 (assistance to nationals concerns), 5011-9548 (Philippine Overseas Labour Office for HSWs), and 6621-4674 (POLO for company workers).
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