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Saturday, August 09, 2008

OFWs, Travelers to Saudi Arabia Told to Declare Cash, Jewelry Worth over SR60,000

Department of Labor and Employment advised overseas Filipino workers and other travelers to Saudi Arabia to declare upon arrival and departure cash, precious metals or jewelry worth over SR 60,000 or US$16,000 to avoid confiscation or legal penalties.

Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque issued the advisory upon receiving a communication from the Saudi Embassy in Manila on the matter.

Roque said the Saudi government has enjoined all travelers to their country to strictly follow Saudi Arabia’s Customs Department rule on the declaration of cash, transferable monetary instruments or precious metals and jewelry exceeding SR60,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency to customs officials upon arrival or departure.

The labor secretary, quoting a statement from the communication, said the main purpose of the declaration was to prevent “money laundering and some forms of terrorist funding.”

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has intensified its efforts to combat money laundering at the national, regional and international levels, the statement said.

“The Kingdom is among the first few countries, which gave special attention to counter money laundering by committing to and complying with many rules and international conventions,” said Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf in a statement.

The filing of the declaration was in accordance with Article 14 of the Anti-Money Laundering Law of the Kingdom and “those who do not declare the precious metals and jewelry they possess while leaving the Kingdom have to pay customs duty on them on their return,” the statement said.

The statement said declaration forms are available at all of the Kingdom’s entry points, including airports and seaports. Passengers should write their names, passport numbers and addresses in Saudi Arabia. They should also state their country of origin and destination, flight numbers, the type of currency they are carrying, the total amount in Saudi riyals, the value of precious metals in Saudi riyals, their source and the purpose of carrying them.

DOLE has noted that most of the OFWs in the Kingdom are fond of buying precious metals and jewelry for pasalubong or for “investment purposes” and it would be to their best interest if they were made aware of this latest developments.

Roque has called on all concerned sectors, including the media, to help in disseminating the information to OFWs and the traveling public.

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