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‘Balik Manggagawa’ workers allowed to leave for Kuwait


By Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is now allowing Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who are currently vacationing in the country to return to their jobs.

​ BI Commissioner Jaime Morente made the announcement 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.

OWWA Deputy Administrator Arnel Ignacio mingles and helps the OFWs process the information sheets during arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City aboard Philippine Airline yesterday. About 250,000 OFWs are affected by the deployment ban in Kuwait according to the Department of Labor. (Photo by Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

 OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City .(File photo/Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

​ The BI chief also said that he has instructed Marc Red Mariñas, BI port operations division chief, to make sure that the OFWs returning to Kuwait are properly documented and subjected to the usual immigration departure formalities.

​ He further disclosed that Kuwaiti-bound Filipinos with short-term non-working visas are also not covered by the ban, thus, they, too, will be allowed to depart.

​ 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.

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

​ He added: “As for those who have just been recruited to work in Kuwait. We are sorry but we cannot let you leave.”

​ Mariñas, however, stressed that BI officers in all the ports are under strict orders 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,” Mariñas said.

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