Filipinos in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

A refugee camp near the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah is increasing in size, while many of the undocumented Filipinos in Jeddah have refused the offer of alternative temporary accommodation made by the Consulate.

As at the 24th April 2013 only fourteen people (seven women and seven children) have taken up the offer of temporary accommodation made by the Consulate.

A Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson has explained that the undocumented Filipinos had chosen to stay at the makeshift camps, as they wanted to stay together, rather than be split up.

The DFA is in talks with Saudi Ministry of Education, hoping to make a school gymnasium available to temporarily house another 500 Filipinos.

This is all the result of The Saudi government having initiated a campaign against illegal workers in their country. Many undocumented Filipinos have taken shelter at the Philippines Consulate in Jeddah, for fear of being arrested.

There are over 1,000 undocumented Filipino workers stranded in Jeddah who are now facing arrest and deportation.

The main problem theses Filipino workers face is the costs that they must pay, before being deported.

  • Fines for having stayed while on an expired residency permit.
  • Fines for violating Saudi Labour Laws.
  • Cost of securing a no-objection certificate (NOC), from the previous employer upon termination of his contract.

The Philippines government has requested that the Saudi government waive various costs and requirements for those Filipinos that are affected by the crackdown on illegal workers.
These include various Exit visa requirements:

  • The “no objection” certificate.
  • Fines for losing the work permit “Iqama”, (about 11,000 PHP)
  • Fines for failing to update the “Iqama”, (about 22,000 PHP).

It has been reported that these undocumented Filipinos consist mainly of those who have absconded from their employers or who do not have valid work permits. There are about 600 men, 300 women and 100 children included in the number.

These are however, only a small minority of the total Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, which has over 1,000,000 legal Filipinos living/working in their country.

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