Manama: Filipinos staying on illegally in Kuwait have been urged by their diplomatic mission in the country to take advantage of an amnesty declared by Kuwaiti authorities to either regularise their situation or leave the country.
The Kuwaiti government has announced a grace period in the general amnesty to illegally overstaying foreign workers starting on March 1 until June 30.
"This is the chance for everyone with expired visas to go home to the Philippines without paying ‘qarama' or fine. If they want to regularise their residence status, they just have to pay the stipulated fine," said Sheila Monedero, Vice Consul of the Philippines.
"The amnesty also covers all overstaying foreign workers with absconding cases. However, if their visa has not expired and they have an absconding case, they cannot leave Kuwait while their travel ban is in effect," she was quoted as saying by the Kuwaiti daily Arab Times on Sunday.
The amnesty does not cover expatriates with criminal cases.
The Philippines embassy said that until Thursday it had received 915 travel document applications since the amnesty started on March 1.
"We urge everyone not to wait for the last minute. Avoid the rush. The embassy is here to help you," Monedero said.
Parents whose children have no visas should bring them to the embassy for assistance, she added.
"These are special cases. The parents have to bring them here and we will try our best to fix their papers and coordinate with the Kuwaiti immigration authorities to allow them to go home to the Philippines for humane reasons," she said.
Those who have their passports with them can go to the airport and leave, but those who do not have their passports need to come to the embassy first and apply for a travel document, the diplomat said.
"They just need to bring three passport-sized photos, a photocopy of their passport or any proof of identity and fill up the application form," she said.
The travel document takes a day to process, Monedero added. "If they apply today, then they can get it the next day."