OFWs returning to Kuwait okay to travel: immigration

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2018 12:41 PM

MANILA - Returning overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait are now allowed to depart after a new directive was issued exempting them from the deployment ban to the emirate, officials said Wednesday.

"The Bureau of Immigration said it is now allowing overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait who are currently vacationing in the country to leave and return to their jobs," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

The DOJ said ​BI Commissioner Jaime Morente made the announcement upon learning that the Department of Labor and Employment has issued a new directive exempting 'Balik Manggagawa' passengers from the deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait.

The bureau has instructed its Port Operations Division to make sure that OFWs returning to Kuwait are "properly documented and subjected to the usual immigration departure formalities.”

​Kuwait-bound Filipinos with short-term non-working visas are also not covered by the ban, and will also be allowed to depart.

​“With this development, there is no more obstacle and impediment for these ‘Balik Manggagawa’ OFWs to return to their jobs in Kuwait. As for those who have just been recruited to work in Kuwait, we are sorry but we cannot let you leave,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

The stricter screening procedures of all departing passengers at immigration counters in all international airports and seaports nationwide will continue "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 bureau said.

More than a hundred Kuwait-bound OFWs were earlier not allowed to depart by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in light of the announced total deployment ban to the emirate.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the ban following reported deaths and abuse of OFWs there, the recent of which was the discovery of the body of 29-year old Joanna Daniela Demafelis inside the freezer of her employers’ abandoned apartment. There have been 6 other recent Filipino deaths in Kuwait.