DFA verifying reports of 30 undocumented Filipinos arrested during Saudi illegal worker crackdown

The Dept. of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said it is verifying reports that 30 Filipinos were arrested in the ongoing illegal migrant crackdown in Saudi Arabia. Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has not monitored any arrests of Filipino violating the new and amended Saudi labor law, but the consulate in Jeddah has heard reports that 30 Filipinos were rounded up by authorities.

“We don’t have confirmation of this yet. We are still trying to get confirmation on this report as of this time,” Hernandez told a press briefing.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia - home to more than 1 million Filipino documented and undocumented workers- have recently raided offices and put up immigration checkpoints across the country as part of its efforts to clear its labor force with illegal workers.

Hernandez asked Filipino workers to obey and observe the regulations for work and residency permit or Iqamas of Saudi Arabia and advised them to renew it in time. In Saudi, employers of foreign workers are the ones responsible for renewing the permits of their employees.

Workers without proper documents run the risk of imprisonment, payment of fines, subsequent deportation and will be banned from entering the Kingdom in the future. Hernandez encouraged Filipino workers to seek the assistance of the embassy or consulate should their employers fail to renew their permits.

“If they have issues with the Saudi government with respect to those laws then what they can do is to ask the help of our embassy so that they can be assisted as far as the renewal of their Iqamas or their repatriation back to the Philippines,” Hernandez said.