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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Saudi Arabia launches online service for inquiries on OFW iqamas, visas

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) can
now inquire about the status of their Iqamas or obtain information on their
application for exit and entry visas and other procedures through the
Internet, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Citing an information from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Makati City, Labor
and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the KSA's Ministry of
Interior has launched an online service which would allow Saudi citizens and
expatriates including OFWs to inquire about their IDs, Iqamas, and visas as
well as eligibility to perform Haj and other procedures in the Kingdom.

Roque welcomed the new electronic service as this would spare the OFWs from
going through the tedious process of inquiring directly with concerned
offices in KSA about the status of required documents such as Iqamas and

The website can also provide KSA employers a list of their workers from
abroad who have not yet been issued iqamas. The latter is an official
identity card depicting an individual as a resident of the Kingdom. Without
an iqama, one cannot open a bank account, buy a car, or rent a place to live
in Saudi Arabia. The employer usually takes the initiative of ensuring that
his/her foreign employee receives an iqama. However, foreign workers in the
Kingdom shall take the initiative in the iqama's renewal.

The DOLE Chief said OFWs can simply go to for the needed
information. He called on Filipino groups in KSA to inform their members
about the new online service even as he directed the Philippine Overseas
Labor Offices (POLOs) in KSA to massively circulate an advisory on such
service in the Filipino community in the Kingdom.

KSA remains the top destination of OFWs. In 2008, a total of 275,933 OFWs
was deployed to this country covering 28.3 % or over a fourth of the total
974,399 OFW deployment during the year.

Owing to the large OFW population in KSA, the DOLE established four POLOs in
the Kingdom - in Riyadh, Al Khobar, CRO, and Jeddah where large
concentrations of OFWs are situated.

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