Abu Dhabi: Teams of diplomats from the Philippines Embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Dubai will soon visit Filipinos stranded on Kish Island in Iran due to the change in the UAE's visa rules, according to an official at the Philippines Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Teams from Philippines missions in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat have already visited the stranded people in Buraimi in Oman to assess the situation.
The visits are part of the series of measures taken by Libran Cabactulan, Philippines Ambassador to the UAE, to help his stranded countrymen.
"We expect a clear picture of the situation today [Sunday], after a meeting between the Philippines Consul General in Dubai and the UAE authorities," said Adelio Cruz, First Secretary and Consul at the Embassy.
"The ambassador instructed the consul general to make a representation with the authorities because most of the people were taken on visa runs by travel agencies in Dubai."
The embassy is also trying to arrange a meeting between the Philippines ambassador and officials of the Ministry of Interior in Abu Dhabi.
The Philippine Embassy estimates that about 900 to 1,000 Filipinos have been stranded in Buraimi and about 2,000 in Kish.
Most stranded Filipinos don't want to go back home and are eager to continue working in the UAE.
"Out of 100 people we interviewed, just six wanted to go back home", said Cruz. "The embassy is making arrangements to help such people."
Meanwhile, some Filipinos stranded in Buraimi alleged they were forcefully evicted from their hotel rooms and transferred to buildings under construction during the Eid Al Fitr holidays.
"The hotel staff said the rooms had already been booked, so we had to vacate," said a lady. Others said they were crammed into villas and other buildings.
The hotels and travel agents were not available for comment.
Brigadier Nasser Al Awadi Al Minhali, Acting Director-General of the Federal Naturalisation and Residency Department, has said people cannot get new visit visas unless they exit the country and stay out for at least a month.
- With inputs from Hadrian Hernandez, Senior Photographer