Posted by: tigergrassroots | July 12, 2011

PHL Embassy clarifies Saudi ban on domestic workers

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh on Monday reiterated that the recent ban on the issuance of work visas for domestic workers from the Philippines applies only to new work visas.

In a press release, the embassy said the ban announced by Saudi Ministry of Labor spokesperson Mr. Hattab al –Hanzi and became effective on July 2, applies only to new work visas.

“It does not cover the household service workers with valid work visas who are already in Saudi Arabia or whose iqamasare up for renewal or those going on vacation. They can continue to work with their present employers,” the embassy said.

The embassy said this was confirmed by Assistant Deputy Minister of Labor H.E. Hashim Rajeh in a recent informal meeting with Labor Attaché Albert Valenciano of the
Philippine Embassy.

Problems of vacationing workers

The Philippine Embassy pointed out that there were unconfirmed reports about some
vacationing workers who allegedly encountered problems at the immigration
counter of the international airport in Riyadh.

An immigration officer at the airport reportedly stamped “exit only” on the exit/re-entry visas of the workers.

The embassy noted that “OFWs are now having second thoughts of going on vacation for fear that they may not be able to return to Saudi Arabia.”

“As a precaution, vacationing workers should be in contact with their employers just in
case they will have similar problems at the airport in Riyadh or elsewhere in the
Kingdom,” the embassy advised.

“They should report the matter to the Philippine Embassy so that it could take appropriate action. The workers who are already in the Philippines on vacation can get in touch with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to document their case and bring the matter to the attention of the Saudi Embassy in Manila,” the embassy added.

No truth to rumors

Earlier, Mohammad Al-Hussein, spokesman for the Passport Department
(Jawasat) in Makkah province denied the rumors that workers’ passports were stamped with “exit only” notices.

The embassy noted that the final exit notice is stamped “only after a series of steps are taken by both the employee and the employer.”

The series of steps involve:

  • the issuance of a release letter or no objection certificate (NOC) from the employer stating that it is giving its consent to release the worker and to send him/ her home to his/her country of origin;
  • the employee’s signing of a final settlement to acknowledge that he has
    received all his monetary claims from the employer, and
  • the checking of whether the worker has any pending police case, traffic violation or bank loan. It is also required that no vehicle should be registered in the worker’s name at the time of final departure.

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