The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Wednesday assured families that stranded overseas Filipino workers will be flown home immediately after they obtain the exit clearance required by the host government.
OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon made the assurance during a dialogue with Migrante International, an alliance of Filipino migrant groups, and OFW families, who asked for the immediate repatriations of stranded OFWs.
“OWWA funds are sufficient to buy the plane tickets but what takes time is the process required under the immigration rules of foreign countries. OWWA has no control over foreign laws,” Dimzon told families of some OFW workers.
Dimzon also briefed the OFW families as well as the Migrante International of the one-country approach of the Philippine government to help in negotiating with foreign employers to return passports of OFWs and waive objections for departures.
She said that under Gulf laws, migrant workers become illegal or overstaying aliens once their employers reported them as having absconded from their jobs.
The OWWA administrator said that because they are now police and not labor cases, the OFWs are subject to arrests and detention and daily fines and penalties for overstaying.
Dimzon said that they can only be deported only if they have settled with employers.
“There is no problem with getting plane tickets. Because runaway OFWs have no or little money left, OWWA also pays the fines and penalties to hurry things up,” said Dimzon.
December 16, 2009, 6:21pm