MANILA: While many UAE visa amnesty grantees see the program as a chance to come home, some overseas Filipinos still want return to Dubai and pick up where they left off.
A total of 345 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Dubai arrived in Manila since the beginning of the amnesty program that allows expats with overstaying or absconding cases to return home without paying outstanding fees.
One of the amnesty grantees who was lucky to have been given free flight ticket by the Philippine government was Joms (name withheld). He told The Filipino Times that he still wishes to return to Dubai due to the financial needs of his family.
Joms worked there as a sales representative for two years. Like many OFWs, he entered UAE with a visit visa. When he was hired, however, his employers did not process his work visa despite his compliance in submitting necessary requirements including his passport.
“Inu-update ko sila every week kung naipasok na sa Ministry of Labor yung application. Kinukulit ko sila pero walang update. Nag-worry na ako. Nag-check ako sa MOHRE tapos nakita kong walang application. Na-realize ko na nag-ooverstay na ako for a few weeks. Yung overstaying fine ko, lumaki na nang lumaki. Nagpatong-patong na hindi ko na kayang bayaran,” Joms told TFT.
When Joms learned about the amnesty program, it was a sigh of relief. Aside from being freed from the burden of paying his overstaying fines, he can finally catch the last flight to start anew.
Joms said that one of his siblings is still studying, and the only way to support him is to go back to Dubai.
Advice to grantees who will return to UAE
Under the amnesty program, grantees will not be banned from returning to Dubai.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Hans Leo Cacdac told TFT that OFW amnesty grantees who will return to the UAE must secure a job in the Gulf state first before flying there.
Cacdac said OFWs should check authorized job postings through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to avoid facing problems once in the UAE.
This was echoed by DFA Migrant Workers Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola. She said: “It’s a part of education. OFWs have to go through POEA. Wag po mag-shortcut. Secondly, wag maniniwala agad na may trabaho. Kasi yung iba sinasabi lang ng kamag-anak, kapitbahay na may trabaho daw pero wala naman.”
Since the beginning of the amnesty program, a total of 345 amnesty grantees from the UAE have returned to the Philippines. The latest batch, all of whom from Abu Dhabi, arrived on Wednesday, August 29.