Employed OFWs may go back to Kuwait: BI

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who are currently vacationing in the country are allowed to leave and return to their jobs, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Wednesday.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the statement upon learning that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued a new directive exempting “Balik Manggagawa” passengers from the deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait.

“With this development, there is no more obstacle and impediment for these ‘Balik Manggagawa’ OFWs to return to their jobs in Kuwait,” he said.

“As for those who have just been recruited to work in Kuwait. We are sorry but we cannot let you leave,” the BI chief added.

With this, Morente instructed Marc Red Mariñas, BI port operations division chief, to ensure that the OFWs returning to the Arab state are properly documented and subjected to the usual immigration departure formalities.

Likewise, he noted that Kuwait-bound Filipinos with short-term non-working visas will be allowed to depart as they are not covered by the ban.

Earlier, BI personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were compelled to defer the departure of more than a hundred OFWs to Kuwait as they awaited the DOLE’s decision on their fate.

For his part, Mariñas ordered BI officers in all the ports to adopt stricter screening procedures and rigid inspection of all departing passengers.

“It is imperative that our immigration officers exercise extra vigilance in order to thwart attempts by the illegal recruiters and human trafficking syndicates to circumvent the ban by employing all sorts of dirty schemes,” the BI official said.

Following the directive from President Rodrigo Duterte, the DOLE on Monday implemented a total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait due to the number of deaths involving OFWs in the host country.

Since then, hundreds of Filipino workers have been repatriated. (PNA)