DUBAI – Around 150 Filipinas on Tuesday night, July 5, were arrested and brought directly to the Al Aweer Detention Center in Dubai on board 5 buses which were supposed to bring them to a big event to work as part-time service crew.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is currently coordinating with the local police and the immigration authorities to resolve the case and possible release for those who can present proof that they have permission from their respective sponsors as well as the Ministry of Labor to work outside their place of work.
It is not clear as of press time how many are holders of visit visa, husband’s visa or employment visa from other sponsors.
According to a friend of one arrested lady who managed to call him last Wednesday, July 6, their arrest appears to be a set-up as most of them were regular part-timers from Satwa and Deira. They had been contracted to serve as waitresses for an event in Dubai.
“We were first told that the event will be held in Dubai Mall, then later at the Dubai World Trade Centre and then at Al Ghurair. After we passed by Al Ghurair area and picked some more ladies the bus and went straight to Al Aweer,” the friend narrated to abs-cbnNEWS.com.
“She said that the passengers started to cry after realizing they were going outside the main city. The door was also locked by the driver after picking up the last passengers,” he added.
His lady friend and her two companions are holding an employment visa bought from an Emirati somewhere in Dubai.
Holders of employment visa from other sponsors will be deported as they are not allowed to work for any event per UAE labor laws unless with official permit. Visit visa holders are not allowed to work at all.
No action would be taken against those who can present proof that they have an offer letter or visa under process, or have permission from their respective sponsors and the Ministry of Labor to work at any event.
Those under husband’s visa would be released upon surrender of their passports, similar to the incident which happened in December last year when 160 Filipinas and an Indonesian were arrested for working illegally at a grand wedding reception at the Dubai World Trade Center.
An investigation will be carried out after which the case of those found illegally working will be forwarded to the prosecution and then to the court for deportation.