The Philippine Consulate General in Dubai has resumed assisting overstaying Filipinos who would like to avail of the twice-extended UAE immigration amnesty scheme, Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said at a Press briefing on Tuesday.
Cortes said amnesty-seekers who are facing financial and legal issues should take advantage of the second extension.
“The amnesty program has been extended anew until December 31 and the requirements are the same – only those with immigration or absconding cases can avail of the program. But I strongly urge my overstaying kababayans (compatriots) who have other cases like bank, cheques or rental disputes to resolve their cases at the earliest to make themselves eligible for the amnesty,” Cortes said.
“They can come to the Consulate from Sunday to Thursday – from 8:00am to 5:00pm, so that we can help them in rectifying their cases, and that they should come immediately so they can meet the extended deadline. Anyone can come and seek legal assistance,” he added.
Cortes, however, clarified that the Philippine government can only extend legal assistance to Filipinos in distress but will not be able to pay for any bank loans, credit card debts or rent.
“The Philippine government is ready to assist any (Filipino) national in distress but there are also legal impediments that we will have to adhere to – we cannot simply pay for credit card debts or any bank loans,” explained Cortes, adding: “But what we can do is negotiate the amount and help come up with a workable payment scheme.”
Cortes noted that they were able to help a few overstaying Filipinos who were initially not qualified but eventually were able to avail of the amnesty after seeking legal advice from the Consulate.
“We have a legal team who can speak with the financial institutions and negotiate a settlement of the case or lowering of payments. For example, there was this rental dispute in which we were able to negotiate the lowering of the payment from Dh80,000 to Dh40,00 and that was a big help,” Cortes shared.
“We have a few success stories. Around 10 people have sought our help recently and they were able to avail of the amnesty. So, those with criminal and civil cases should come to us immediately so that we can help them resolve their problems,” he added.
Cortes said that as of the end of November, the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai have assisted at least 7,398 overstaying Filipinos who availed of the amnesty. Out of the total number, the Philippine missions have renewed the passports of 3,027 Filipinos who applied for the six-month jobseeker visa or who have already found employment while 1,639 Filipinos who lost their passports received new ones.
He added that at least 2,732 Filipinos were repatriated back home after availing of the amnesty. The Philippine government paid for their exit passes, lifting of absconding cases and one-way airfare. Those who opted to go home also received $100 (Dh365) each, except the minors, as “welfare assistance.”
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